Who could have imagined it, back during the war-torn days of the 60’s? Casinos in Vietnam. Vietnamese have been gambling as long as anyone can remember, but the activity is mostly illegal now. The only legal way Vietnamese can gamble today is to buy a lottery ticket, which became legal in 1999. There are plenty of casino-resorts in Vietnam but they are only available to foreign passport holders. Which leaves online gambling. Internet casinos such as bodog888 are fully licensed in the Philippines but have no physical presence in Vietnam, though they are easily accessible to Vietnamese gamblers. Gambling on casinos online is technically illegal, but police seldom bother anyone gambling online in their own home.
This is all expected to change in the very near future. As more of the Asian gambling market opens up, investors will be key to propelling the industry. For that to happen, local laws will have to change and be more acceptable to international investors. They will want a stable environment that will be conducive to protecting their investments. It is expected that by four years from now, there will be three new large-scale resort casinos that will be open to not only foreign tourists, but to locals as well. That is the opinion of Stellar Management CEO Augustine Vinh. He is firmly of the belief that Vietnam’s tourist industry will boom, which will greatly benefit the casino market. The online gambling market will grow exponentially along with the brick and mortar casinos. Each casino will want to have their own internet gambling site to take advantage of larger player pools.
Quoting from Mr. Vinh, “the Ministry of Finance has been commissioned by the prime minister to come up with a draft decree, so we have a number of draft decrees already and then hopefully in the near future they’re going to release a new version and the new version will be fairly acceptable to international investors. We’re talking about integrated resorts in Vietnam, we’re talking about accepting the investment of $2 billion… We’re talking about Vietnamese locals will be allowed to come in, and also we talk about master planning the number of integrated resorts, we’ll be limited to at least four—one in the north, one in the central, one in south and one in the island—so that’s where we stand today.” Mr. Vinh also said that “investors anywhere, they want a stable environment, a regulatory framework, a legal environment, so the Vietnamese government will have to work on decrees, gaming decrees and gaming laws and maybe gaming commission, that’s one. Secondly, they have to find a tax system that allows investors to come in, make some money and to prosper. And no. 3, the government is very interested in social issues, how to open up a gaming industry to the people and without any social problems because once local people object to this kind of gaming facilities then there will be problems.”