Vietnam Casino Statistics
Vietnam Casino & Gambling Overview
Vietnam Update 2016
Vietnam continued to see some progress inside its borders as its citizens continued to be forced outside the country to gamble in 2016. Following is a recap of important developments and the current state of affairs in the Vietnamese casino industry as of Q32016. First, in news highlights;
May - Ho Tram announces $75 million expansion
June - Draft Decree submitted to government after years of discussion
June - $100 million racecourse approved in Phu Yen, Australian Golden Turf Club Limited Company gets license
July - Hilton set to operate new Ho Chi Minh City hotel with casino in 2019 - Hilton Saigon
July – The first ever self-select, computerized lottery sales begin with a minimum US$535,000 jackpot
August - New draft decree on football, horse and dog race betting finalized
September - Media chatter indicates locals will not be allowed to play in any casino when draft decree is finalized
September - Ho Tram Resort gets permission for dedicated tourism airport in Ba Ria-Vung Tau
Vietnam's only integrated resort (IR) has been at the center of many of the country's developments in 2016. In May, Ho Tram Resort Casino announced they would be adding a second hotel tower at a cost of $75 million. It will be built by Cotec Construction, the same local company that developed the first tower designed by Steelman Partners. This will bring the investors total so far to $1 billion, a quarter of the long-term required commitment. Also in May a consortium reportedly including Steelman along with Cantor Fitzgerald and Weidner Resorts met with Ho Chi Minh City Party Secretary Dinh La Thang about opening a $4 billion IR there.
In June, a new draft decree was submitted to the government after seven years of waiting. The current draft decree has never been made public, so details can't be relayed with certainty. Part of the decree was thought to allow locals access to at least one casino in the country on a trial basis. That casino was reportedly Ho Tram. The next big news for the resort was announced in September when unconfirmed sources reportedly leaked that the draft decree would not allow locals to gamble anywhere (for the time being) followed the next day by news that the provisional government in Ba Ria-Vung Tau had approved a plan by Ho Tram to construct an airport in Loc An Commune, Dat Do District to serve guests of the resort.
Other big news about Vietnamese mega-resorts included groundbreaking at the $4 billion Nam Hoi An Casino Resort in Quang Nam Province (Chow Tai Fook, VinaCapital, Sun City) and Laguna Lăng Cô's decision to continue development of their beach resort, even in the face of no firm casino license. Hard Rock International has been pursuing the casino license there. Until the Politburo actually acts on the draft decree, the rest of the IR picture in Vietnam will remain unclear, as it has for several years now.
The casinos and gambling clubs of Vietnam
There are currently 7 licensed casinos and 23 electronic gaming clubs in Vietnam. The licensed casinos are able to offer true casino table games such as baccarat, blackjack, roulette, craps, pai gow, and sic-bo (tai sai) along with slots and other electronic games. The clubs are restricted to electronic or mechanical games that do not require a live dealer, croupier, or box man. All casinos and e-gaming clubs are required to operate from 5-star hotels, and none accept play from Vietnamese citizens unless they reside overseas and hold a foreign passport. This requirement leaves over 90 million people without gaming venues at home, so they travel to gamble. Most Vietnamese, rich and poor, go to nearby Cambodian or Laotian border casinos, those with plenty of discretionary income go further, such as to Jeju Island in South Korea, Singapore, or Macau.
The seven licensed casinos in Vietnam include Ho Tram Resort Casino in Ba Ria Vũng Tàu; Phoenix International Club in Bac Ninh; Aristo International Hotel & Casino in Lào Cai; Crown International Club next to the Crowne Plaza in Đà Nẵng; Royal International Gaming Club in Hạ Long, and Doson Casino Resort in Hải Phòng City. Not yet operational is the Nam Hoi An Casino Resort. All of these casino resorts feature live dealers offering traditional and regional table games, slots and other electronic gaming devices, casual and fine dining, and upscale accommodations with all the amenities you would expect from a 5-star hotel.
The largest venue 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 to 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.
Danang's Crown International Games Club (formerly Silver Shores Casino) is a small, privately owned beachfront casino that has also 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 – all properties with much larger footprints than the Danang casino. 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 Aristo International Hotel & Casino in Lào Cai, is located in the far Northeastern part of the country on the border of China's Yunnan province, and services a mostly Chinese clientele, over 90%. Donaco International, who own and operate the casino, announced plans this year to rebuild a small airport there in order to increase tourism and develop the mountainous area into more of a tourist hub.
Electronic gaming clubs
More than 20 upscale hotels in Vietnam feature electronic gaming clubs with slots and electronic table games. Some are in, or just off the hotel lobby, and others are on second or third-floor areas that include karaoke bars and lounges, as well as private karaoke suites. About half of the clubs are in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) with the capital city, Hanoi housing another half dozen. The rest are scattered, situated mostly along the coast between the two major cities.
The draft gambling decree of Vietnam
As the law currently stands the only citizens, other than casino workers, who can enter a casino are those who reside abroad and hold a foreign passport. Some factions within the government have pushed for a way to capture the flight of capital that occurs whenever Vietnamese citizens cross the border to gamble in other countries. And the Vietnamese are avid gamblers, from the state-sanctioned lottery to 'street games' such as Bau Cua, betting on fish fights and cock fights, and gambling in illicit casinos within the major cities. Some government estimates place the loss of gaming taxes alone at over US$800 million per year.
Vietnam ranks low in gross gaming revenue (GGR) for Asian countries with legal gambling. According to government reports, only US$62.3 million in gross gaming revenue was posted in 2014, the last year for which full figures are available. Gaming is taxed at 35%, however, the effective rate is lower as junket commissions are deductible. GGR worldwide for 2014 topped US$450 billion. Academicians, scholars, and analysts have projected Vietnamese gross gaming revenues to reach US$3 billion to US$6 billion a year if the market were opened up to currently proposed casinos, and if locals were able to gamble in-country.
Based on previously published decrees that give an idea of structure, plus best in industry knowledge and predictions garnered from other published proposals, including those by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) all indications point to a final Casino Decree that would likely lower the current investment threshold from US$4 billion to US$2 billion, continues to ban locals from machine play - opening up table games in one or more of the licensed casinos to denizens who can prove a certain income level, and set a minimum gambling age of 21. Some analysts are predicting that a cap on the total nimber of IR's to be permitted will be set at 5, and some expect some form of internal controls in regard to money laundering will be written in before passage by the politburo.
As of early September, the Ministry of Finance’s current draft decree, submitted in June, has seen many revisions and has still not been made public. However, in early September local media reported that a senior Ministry official stated, “We are continuing to study and gauge the social impacts of letting Vietnamese punters into casinos. We want to report to the higher-ups about the ramifications this could have such as organized crime, gambling addictions, money laundering and other illicit activities,” which most media outlets took as a sign that locals would not be allowed in casinos under any circumstances. We find that hard to substantiate from the lone statement that was not attributed to a certain individual, so we are not drawing the same conclusion yet.
All expectations are that the draft decree, in whatever form, will become the official Vietnam Casino Decree 15-days after being publicized on the Official Gazette sometime in 2016.
Lottery, Parimutuel and other gambling in Vietnam
Organized lottery games have occurred in Vietnam since 1936 and officially since 1946. Binh Duong Lottery LTP Trading Printing Company was established in 1979 and conglomerated with Song Be Binh Duong Lottery in 2000. On December, 5th 2011, the Minister of Finance established the state-owned Vietnam Lottery Company (Vietlott). The lottery came of age in July this year when it offered a minimum jackpot of VND12 billion (US$535,000). The lowest possible jackpot for the first ‘Mega 6/45’ game was 8x the highest prize of traditional Vietnamese lotteries. The lottery is run by Vietlott and an indirect subsidiary of Malaysia-based firm Berjaya Corp Bhd (Bcorp) who garnered an 18-year investment license to operate the lottery in January.
Ho Chi Minh City’s Phu Tho Horse Racecourse was closed in 2011 to make way for an athletic complex. This leaves only Sân vận động Lam Sơn Greyhound stadium in Vũng Tàu for live race betting on greyhounds. The track is owned and operated by Success Dragon of Hong Kong, better known for their Macau operations. We have learned on good authority that Success Dragon is possibly looking into expanding into other Vietnamese markets to include parimutuel facilities, off-track-betting venues, and at least one e-gaming club. Under the current law each parimutuel license is also entitled to 5 OTB's.
In June the Australian Golden Turf Club Limited Company received a license for a $100 million investment in a racecourse in south-central Phu Yen province. The land has already been cleared on the 134-hectare project site and permission given for groundbreaking. The venue is expected to open by 2019.
However, these and any plans Success Dragon may have for expanding parimutuel facilities may change depending upon final details in the Casino Decree, as opening up all gaming in the country to locals could make animal sports a less likely success.
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 about 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 any of the other areas with casinos or gaming clubs, you will find luxurious accommodations and VIP treatment. The legendary Vietnamese hospitality is prevalent everywhere, and there are currently six casinos offering the games you would expect to find in Macau or Las Vegas. For now, the “biggest game in town” is to be found at Ho Tram, soon to be joined by Hoi An, and possibly Laguna Lăng Cô and even one or two more integrated resorts. Much still depends on the long-awaited Casino Decree.
Casinos and Gambling Facts
Vietnam is a country in East Asia with legal gambling.
There are 13 cities with gambling facilities in Vietnam which have 31 legal gambling facilities available in total.
The types of gambling available in Vietnam are: casinos, horseracing tracks, greyhound tracks.
The largest gambling city in Vietnam is Ho Chi Minh City with 9 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 List