The landscape in Southeast Asia is changing, with the possibility of becoming a strong casino hub. Vietnam, similar to Thailand’s initiative, is considering approving two new casinos, and it has an idea of where they should go.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance has settled on two potential locations for casinos exclusively for the use of foreigners. One would be located in the city of Da Nang, and the other in the province of Khanh Hoa.
Both are on the country’s eastern coast facing the South China Sea. As such, the Ministry of Finance feels that they offer a lot of appeal to foreign tourists and make ideal spots to attract regular traffic flow.
No Green Light Yet
The proposed locations follow submissions from the regions in a bid to expand Vietnam’s casino industry. The Ministry of Finance has already forwarded its recommendations to the government, which will take them into consideration before making a decision.
If the government greenlights the projects, Da Nang will see its Sun World Ba Na Hills entertainment and resort complex add a casino. In addition, the Hon Tre Island resort in Khanh Hoa would include a gambling property.
Da Nang currently has no big casinos – only smaller gambling rooms and casinos. However, the Khanh Hoa province is already witnessing the arrival of a new casino and resort complex. That is now under construction at the KN Paradise in Cam Ranh, about 30 miles to the south.
Another potential candidate, the province of Binh Thuan, lost out on the opportunity to host a casino. The Ministry of Finance determined that its location in the interior of the country does not lend itself to significant foreign travel. It also has no airport or any type of notable water access. As such, it wouldn’t produce the traffic to make it worthwhile.
Local Gambling Finds Renewed Support
In general, local Vietnamese cannot gamble legally in the country. However, a couple of years ago, the government began a pilot program investigating the feasibility of changing the law.
It approved, on a limited basis, local gambling at two properties. However, only one of those, the Corona Resort and Casino in Phu Quoc, is open. The other casino never got off the ground because of the pandemic.
After the program began in 2018, Corona saw its revenue increase by 9.5% through 2020. However, in 2021, due to the pandemic, it dropped 10%.
Now, the Ministry of Finance has reiterated its plan to extend the pilot program until 2024. It was initially going to end in 2021, but COVID-19 caused all nine of the country’s legal casinos to lose money last year.
It isn’t clear when the government may reach a decision on the two new casinos, or how long construction will take. In the meantime, it may determine to add another existing casino to the pilot program in order to overcome the deficit COVID-19 caused.
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