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|A casino in Phu Quoc. The Ministry of Finance has proposed amendments to the decree about casino businesses. - Photo tuoitre.vn|
The regulation for the eligibility to run casino business, including minimum capital of US$2 billion for a casino project and the disbursed capital of $1 billion or higher, was proposed to be kept the same.
However, for regions like Van Don Economic Zone in the northern province of Quang Ninh, the ministry proposed that for investors who poured money in other projects in the region, the disbursed capital in these projects would be calculated as the disbursed capital for the eligibility of running a casino business but not higher than 25 per cent of the total investment of the casino project.
The proposal, if passed, would facilitate the investment of Sun Group into a casino complex project in Van Don as the developer’s disbursed capital at Van Don International Airport and Van Don – Ha Long – Mong Cai Expressway would be calculated as part of the disbursement for the casino business.
The Van Don International Airport had a total investment of VND7.5 trillion ($322 million) and went into operation in December 2018. The 60km Ha Long-Van Don Expressway had a total investment of VND12 trillion and the construction of Van Don-Mong Cai Expressway is expected to be complete in 2021.
Sun Group in a document of Quang Ninh Province People’ Committee in April 2017 was confirmed as the only investor selected by the provincial authority for the casino complex project in Van Don to propose to the Prime Minister for consideration.
The Van Don casino complex project would have a total investment of around $2 billion and be developed on an area of 445ha in Van Yen Commune, Van Don District.
Sun Group has asked for an extension of the project's life to 70 years from 50 years.
Construction of the project is expected to run from this year until 2029. The province planned to announce the official investor of the project in the second quarter of this year and to date, no name had been announced.
The Politburo previously approved the pilot implementation of allowing Vietnamese to gamble at casinos in Van Don and Phu Quoc. Vingroup’s Corona Resort and Casino in Phu Quoc was the first casino in Viet Nam to open to Vietnamese on January 19, 2019.
The casino in Phu Quoc received around 47,400 Vietnamese in 2019, or 45 per cent of its customers, according to the finance ministry.
The ministry also proposed casino investors would be allowed to transfer their capital at casino projects after five years of being granted licences.
Twelve casino projects have been granted licences in Viet Nam and eight of them are operational.
The ministry’s statistics showed total revenue of these eight casinos around doubled in the past three years, from VND1.19 trillion in 2017 to VND2.5 trillion in 2019. The contribution to the State budget rose from VND645 billion to VND1.34 trillion.