Vietnam Casinos & Gambling Update 2016
Lars Jones & Steve Hand
Vietnam is a key country in Asia and like many Asian people the Vietnamese love to gamble, the problem is the Vietnamese with a population around 93 million are not allowed to gamble in their own country.
As of late April 2016 there are 7 foreigner-only casinos in Vietnam that are allowed to offer “Live gaming” which includes the traditional games such as Baccarat, Black Jack, American Roulette and more of the games you would find in top Asian destinations such as Macau and Philippines. There are also as many as 25 “E-gaming Clubs” which have no “live” dealers and are fully electronic. By law, all casinos and e-gaming clubs must be situated in 4 and 5 star hotels.
In the past casino gambling was not a big tourist draw with very few casinos to choose from, but that may change soon. For the last 3 years the Vietnamese Government hashave deliberated many times on the issues of invitations to foreign investors to develop large scale integrated casino resorts (IR) and allow Vietnamese citizens to gamble in the country's casinos and e-gaming clubs.
Although gambling in Vietnam is officially off-limits for non-foreign passport holding citizens, some denizens still enjoy gambling. Illegal and semi-legal betting shops are quite abundant, and cock fights are relatively common across the country. Illegal lotteries also pop up from time to time and are big business in places like Ho Chi Minh City. It's not encouraged that you partake in any of these kinds of gambling. Instead, it's better to stick to a legitimate casino in Vietnam.
Vietnam's Government is increasingly concerned about the large amount of money being lost by Vietnamese crossing the border to Cambodian casinos, and flying to places such as Macau and Singapore to gamble. The large stakes represent a significant flight of capital that the government could capture revenues from if citizens were allowed to gamble in their own country.
This may be the year the Vietnamese Government will finally relax regulations on foreign investment in integrated casino resorts and make it much more viable for mega gaming companies to invest by lowering the investment threshold and finally allowing Vietnamese to gamble at home.
A long-awaited bill to overhaul Vietnam’s casino legislation is expected to be published in the first half of 2016. The new draft law may relax some of the conditions contained in earlier versions that analysts warned would risk deterring foreign investors.
The final version is expected to cut the minimum investment required in an integrated resort in half, to $2 billion. Previous drafts of the legislation had required operators seeking a license to run an IR to commit to a minimum investment of $4 billion. This was seen by many analysts as too high for the current Vietnamese market potential. At a seminar in November the Vietnamese government heard advice that the entire investment wouldn't need to be completed upfront, but could be committed in stages with benchmarks along the way.
At the November seminar it was also noted that Vietnam is expected to allow three Integrated Resorts in addition to the Grand Ho Tram, which opened in 2013. The locations are likely to be Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the north of the country; the central coast, and on Phu Quoc island in the south.
Perhaps most importantly, the new legislation is expected to open up the country’s casinos to citizens for the first time which will significantly increase Vietnam's appeal to overseas investors.
As envisioned, there will be a minimum age of 20 for entry into the casinos and any local wishing to gamble will have to prove a minimum income of around $750 a month. The casinos will also charge an entry fee, which is likely to be set at around $50, or $500 for an annual pass.
Vietnamese citizens will be allowed into one of the resorts on a pilot basis. The Grand Ho Tram, on the coast near Ho Chi Minh City, has been tipped as the most likely venue for such a pilot scheme, which would run for a two-year trial.
The latest draft of the legislation is currently with the Politburo. It may be released by the Ministry of Finance as early as the second quarter of 2016.
With the declining VIP gambling scene in Macau, Vietnam’s existing casinos are reporting solid results. The uptick in revenues has benefited the Danang-based property, Crown International Games Club in particular (formerly Silver Shores Casino). This small, privately owned beachfront casino has emerged as one of the most popular sites for wealthy Chinese to place VIP level bets. Crown is owned by Chinese company Hui Kong and is one of the seven licensed full casinos in Vietnam. Industry executives estimate monthly VIP turnover has increased over the past year to $3 billion a month, roughly double that of the highly successful Solaire in the Philippines, Genting Highlands in Malaysia, and the bustling NagaWorld in Cambodia. The resort complex plans to double the number of rooms as part of a $600 million redevelopment plan, which will include a JW Marriott-branded hotel, a duty-free shopping mall and a casino expansion.
The casinos of Vietnam
(Q2 2014) By far the largest venue opened so far in Vietnam is the Grand Ho Tram on the beach near Vung Tau. The Grand Ho Tram has about 100,000 square feet of gambling space in the 4.5-star resort that includes a fitness center, a spa tub and sauna, several fine dining venues, and a nightclub among other upscale amenities. Another major development is the opening of the new Aristo International Hotel & Casino (formerly Lao Cai International) on the border with Yunnan Province, China by Donaco International Limited. Donaco is headed up by the two brothers, Lim, (managing director Joey Lim Keong Yew) the nephews of Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, the Chairman and Chief of Genting Group. According to Mr. Lim, 99% of their business comes from China.
More large scale Integrated Resort development is in the exploratory or planning stages including movements by Las Vegas Sands and Crown Resorts Limited.
Vietnam Casinos and Gambling in Summary
Like most Asian countries trying to get a piece of the Asian gaming pie, Vietnam is in a state of flux and growth as the government struggles with perceived moral issues balanced by the desire to generate tax revenues and grow their service economies, as well as stem "currency bleed" by citizens who take their gambling over the border. There are currently over 30 legal venues where money may be risked for possible gain by foreign passport holders. If you plan a trip to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) or one of the other areas where we have reviewed casinos, you will find luxurious accommodations and VIP treatment from almost all of the current Gaming Clubs. The legendary Vietnamese hospitality is prevalent everywhere, and there are seven full scale casinos with all the games you would expect to find in Macau or Las Vegas.
Casinos and Gambling Facts
Vietnam is a country in East Asia with legal gambling.
There are 12 cities with gambling facilities in Vietnam which have 29 legal gambling facilities available in total.
The types of gambling available in Vietnam are: casinos.
The largest gambling city in Vietnam is Ho Chi Minh City with 10 gambling facilities, 10 tables games, 230 gaming, slot, and video poker machines.
The largest casino in the entire country of Vietnam is Ho Tram Resort Casino Vietnam which is located in Vũng Tàu. Ho Tram Resort Casino Vietnam has 90 table games, 2 poker tables, 614 gaming and video poker machines.
Visit Pagat to view a complete list of card games played in Vietnam.
Vietnam Casino Stats
Vietnam Casino List
Opens December 31st, 2016