Racetrack is coming back

17:28 | 17/12/2018
After the initial zeal, most racetracks remain on paper. However, Hanoi is determined to build a racetrack at Soc Son.
racetrack is coming back
After a long hiatus, racetrack projects got a new lease on life due to the legalisation of betting business

Notably, the Hanoi People’s Committee recently officially approved the partial revision of the Master Plan for Socioeconomic Development in Hanoi until 2020, with orientation to 2030. The plan includes a multi-purpose entertainment complex with a horse racetrack (and the related betting business) in Soc Son.

According to Nguyen Duc Chung, Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee, the project’s investment value is about $420 million, and once in operation, it will contribute VND1-1.5 trillion ($43.48-65.22 million) to the state budget annually as well as create jobs for local people and promote tourism.

As planned, the project will start construction in 2019 if the government approves.

Hanoi seems very excited about the racetrack project which had been proposed nearly 20 years ago. However, in the past, the legal documents related to betting business and horse racing were incomplete, therefore, the project was not implemented.

A few years ago, the government has started to build a decree on betting business in relation to horse racing, dog racing, and international football, encouraging investor Global Consultant Network Co., Ltd. (GCN) to establish a joint venture with the Hanoi Tourist Corporation to propose the racetrack project in Soc Son.

The Hanoi People’s Committee recently officially approved the partial revision of the Master Plan for Socioeconomic Development in Hanoi until 2020, with orientation to 2030. The plan includes a multi-purpose entertainment complex with a horse racetrack (and the related betting business) in Soc Son.

In January 2017, the government officially issued Decree No.06/2017/ND-CP on betting business in horse racing, dog racing, and international football, which created opportunities for many investors and businesses at home and abroad.

In addition, at the mid-year session, the National Assembly passed the amended Sports and Exercise Law, which added a regulation on sports betting. The legal framework for betting business in Vietnam, including horse racing, dog racing, and international football, has basically been completed, opening up opportunities for Hanoi to promote the horse racing project, especially now that it is part of its master planning.

Concerns by other provinces

The racetrack in Hanoi is not the only project which was proposed when the Vietnamese government prepared to legalise betting business. When Decree No.06/2017/ND-CP was drafted, G.O. Max I&D from Korea returned to Vietnam with a $1.5 billion project.

The Korean investor’s project includes a 72-hole golf course, a sports entertainment complex, a horse riding and polo club, as well as apartments and villas built on a land area of 750 hectares. The racetrack will take up 200ha of this area and will hold three races per week.

Besides, G.O. Max I&D plans to establish 70 off-site betting sites in 54 cities and provinces across the country, as well as an online betting system.

At the end of 2016, the memorandum of understanding (MoU) about investment in the sports entertainment complex was signed, setting the location in Vinh Phuc. Even though the decree on betting business was approved in early 2017, the project has remained mostly on paper.

Talking to VIR, a leader of G.O. Max I&D said that the project is still delayed because it has not received approval from the authorities. “However, we are still determined to pursue this project,” they said.

Another racetrack project in Bac Ninh province was proposed by Korean investor Golden Horse with an investment scale of $500 million in the beginning of 2017. The province and the Korean investor signed an investment co-operation agreement, however the project remains immobile.

In the beginning of this year, the Bac Ninh People’s Committee asked Golden Horse to speed up the project or it will be transferred to other investors.

Golden Horse promised to establish legal representation in Vietnam soon and submit the project to the prime minister. However, to date, there has been no further information about the project.

Meanwhile, Golden Turf Club Pty., Ltd.’s (Hong Kong) $100 million racetrack project in Phu Yen has received approval for its investment planning in 2016, but still remains immobile, despite repeated urging from the Phu Yen People’s Committee.

Thus, while the basic legal framework has been completed and there are many investment projects in the pipeline, none of these projects have been implemented so far.

By Ha Nguyen

Based on MasterCMS Ultimate Edition Ver 2.8 2018