Vietnam racing for gaming investment in 2019

Vietnam, Golden Bridge
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Vietnam’s Communist Party is quickly picking up the pace on gaming legislation, attracting billions of dollars in foreign direct investment for new casino and racing facilities this year. But as local gaming professor Augustine Ha Ton Vinh, points out – the industry’s future will be tightly controlled.

Having formally approved sports betting earlier in the spring of 2018, Vietnam is making huge strides in the race to attract Asian gamblers this year.
Several billion US dollars are pouring into at least four major casino projects due to open in 2019. While a $500m race track stretching across 300 acres is already underway in the northern capital of Hanoi – the city which is also due to host the now gambling-friendly Formula One in 2020.
These initiatives have been spurred by the recenconcession granted to Vin- group, the developer of a $2bn casino resort on the southern island of Phu Quoc, to allow Vietnamese citizens to gamble in its casino under a three-year pilot programme.
Vingroup’s resort is already built, and will be the first in Vietnam to start taking wagers from locals when it opens early this year, but the concession paves the way for other casino resorts – as well as new racing and sports betting facilities – to do the same.
Under the pilot, locals that want to use casinos must be over 21, prove a monthly income over VND10m ($427), have no criminal record, and pay for a $50 entry fee.
The country’s largest casino project to date, Suncity’s Hoiana, which is also due to open this year, is expected to receive the same concession soon.
The $4bn Hoiana situated along the mid-eastern coast of Vietnam near the ancient town of Hoi An – the result of a three-way investment from Suncity, VinaCapital, a Vietnamese real estate firm, and Hong Kong-based VMS Investment Group – includes a must be over 21, prove a monthly income over VND10m ($427), have no criminal record, and pay for a $50 entry fee.
The country’s largest casino project to date, Suncity’s Hoiana, which is also due to open this year, is expected to receive the same concession soon.
The $4bn Hoiana situated along the mid-eastern coast of Vietnam near the ancient town of Hoi An – the result of a three-way investment from Suncity, VinaCapital, a Vietnamese real estate firm, and Hong Kong-based VMS Investment Group – includes a 1,000 hectare complex of shops, restaurants, golf courses and water parks.
“The government really wishes to bring tourism here,” said Henry Tam, project director of Hoi An South Development, the local company which is building Hoiana. “This is a 15 to 20- year project”, in an area “four times the size of Macau’s Cotai strip.”
Sands Resorts are also eyeing up multibillion dollar casino investments in Vietnam. Access to the local market will help to push Sheldon Adelson over the line, but the real prize is the rising number of Chinese tourists: four million last year, up 49 percent.
Even in Hanoi, the nation’s political capital and second largest, but also most conservative, city, vast developments have been slated for horse racing.
Three hundred acres of farmland on the city’s periphery will now be transformed into a $500m racing facility creating 5,000 jobs and generating VND1.5trn ($64m) for the local budget each year.
The project was first tabled back in 1999, but now that sports betting has been given the greenlight by members of the Politburo, construction will begin this year and the complex become operational by 2021.
In both a financially significant and culturally symbolic step for Vietnam, Hanoi will also host a Formula One grand prix for the first time next year. The 5.6km “street” circuit will again be hosted by the Vin- group.
Vietnamese prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said it was an “important event not only in the field of sport but also in culture and society, contributing to the development of Vietnam.”


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