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|Potential profit from the casino industry is too lucrative to overlook (Photo: Le Toan)|
It is not the first time the province has asked for governmental approval to build a casino. Earlier in June 2015, Thua Thien-Hue proposed that the prime minister add the province’s Chan May-Lang Co Economic Zone to the list of areas allowed to have casinos in the country, but failed.
Numerous foreign investors visited Thua Thien-Hue looking to develop casino projects. In late July, US-based casino operator and hospitality business Hard Rock International Inc. confirmed its interest in developing a casino at Laguna Lang Co integrated resort complex.
Daniel Cheng, Hard Rock’s senior vice president for casino business development in Asia, told GGRAsia that Hard Rock finished all site studies and completed all project financing. All the company is waiting for is the Vietnamese government to issue the casino license after which Hard Rock can put the spade to the ground immediately.
Earlier in July 2014, Singaporean resort developer Banyan Tree Holdings sought the provincial leaders’ approval to build a casino in the complex, claiming the step would play an important role in the development of Laguna Lang Co Resort, the company’s first project in Vietnam.
The casino project is a part of a proposal to increase the investment capital to $2 billion from the initial $875 million to expand the existing project. The added capital will be used to build 998 more hotel rooms and 1,073 villas, and $249.8 million of the added capital would go to the casino project alone.
If approved, Laguna Lang Co will contribute $245 million the province’s budget each year from 2021.
Starting operations in March 2013, the $875-million Laguna Lang Co Resort is located near Lang Co Bay, framed by a three-kilometre beach in Chan May region. This development includes Banyan Tree and Angsana hotels and spas, an 18-hole championship golf course designed by Nick Faldo, private villas and residences available for sale, convention facilities, and a plethora of recreational activities for guests of all ages.
In January, the government issued Decree No.03/2017/ND-CP on casino business, which took effect in March this year. Accordingly, eligible investors wishing to invest and operate in services, tourism, and entertainment businesses with casinos must invest a minimum capital sum of $2 billion and submit plans to manage the negative impacts of casino operations.
Such enterprises can provide a casino in only one location and this must be separate from other business areas of entertainment.
The decree also opens casino business opportunities for Vietnamese citizens. Notably, Vietnamese citizens shall be allowed to place bets in casinos for a trial period of three years, from the date the first casino operator successfully obtains their licences for Vietnamese.
In the trial period, eligible Vietnamese customers must be at least 21 years old, have a monthly regular income of minimum VND10 million ($454.5), and are legally competent.
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