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Casino investors get a win in Vietnam

Tue, Sep 3, 1:40pm by Staff Writer

Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance is seeking to relax the requirements for casino investors in a bid to boost development activity in the country’s special administrative-economic zones, local news outlet VnExpress reported Sunday.

Under the country’s current regulations, interested casino developers must plough at least $2 billion into the establishment of integrated resorts with dedicated casino areas and to make a 50 per cent disbursement prior to receiving an investment registration certificate from local authorities.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Finance is urging the country’s Prime Minister to relax the current regulations and to include investment schemes beyond ones involving casino gambling in the special administrative-economic zones or infrastructure projects connected to those zones when calculating the minimum capital an interested investor must allocate before being granted a certificate for such development projects.

The Finance Ministry said it believes its proposal, if adopted, could encourage investment into casino resort and infrastructure projects connected to the country’s special administrative-economic zones, especially in Van Don, which is said to be in dire need of infrastructure improvements.

Van Don is a rural district in the Quang Ninh province in northern Vietnam.

Vietnamese developer Sun Group is currently building a casino resort in the district.

The company is known to be among the largest real estate developers in the country, according to Casino News Daily.

Relaxed regulations not endorsed by everyone

The Finance Ministry’s proposal for relaxed regulations has been met with some opposition by other ministries and involved parties.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment was reported saying that such a move would not be appropriate at this time.

Ministry officials did not elaborate on the topic.

The Ministry of Defence has, too, joined the opposition side on the matter.

Ministry representatives pointed out that if easing the current conditions for granting a casino development permission was aimed to support the Van Don casino project, adopting new, relaxed, conditions would be unfair to businesses that have obtained casino investment licences under the current program.

Aside from Van Don, the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa and Phu Quoc in the southern province of Kien Giang are Vietnam’s two other special administrative-economic zones.

While the southeast Asian country has a booming casino gambling industry, Vietnamese nationals have long been prohibited from gambling at local casinos.

Last year, the nation’s government approved a there-year trial plan that allows Vietnamese nations to gambling at one casino.

The facility is located on Phu Quoc Island.

If the three-year pilot program proves successful, more casinos could be allowed to admit residents.

In a separate round of news, it emerged last week that Vietnam has completed another illegal online gambling operation worth billions.

The country worked with Chinese authorities to bust an illegal iGaming and fraud ring.

The ring had been in operation since 2017 and had reportedly handled “billions of yuan” before police interfered.

After multiple raids conducted in different locations in Vietnam’s Halong City and Nha Trang city, a total of 77 Chinese nationals were arrested.

Another 31 suspects were nabbed in China as part of the same operation.

Police in both countries also seized equipment and bank cards.

The group promoted its gambling operation via the locally popular WeChat social networking service with payments processed via AliPay.

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