|The track will cover up to 180 hectares in Tan Minh Commune with investment of US$500 million.— File Photo
HA NOI (VNS)— The Hanoi Tourist Corporation has asked for municipal Government assistance to speed up a project to build a horse racing track in Ha Noi's suburban district of Soc Son.
The track will cover up to 180 hectares in Tan Minh Commune with investment of US$500 million.
Corporation Chairman Tran Tien Hung said the race track had been approved by the Prime Minister and received an investment licence from the Ministry of Planning and Investment back in 1999 to pilot the idea.
The track was originally going to be located in Thanh Tri District, but there was insufficient land available to accommodate the facilities, so the Ha Noi People's Committee agreed for the project to be moved to Soc Son District.
Director of the Hanoi Tourist Corporation Pham Duc Hung also noted that the land at the original site was unsuitable for cultivating grass.
"While our partner wants to speed up the project, it is stuck now because Viet Nam has not formally legalised betting on horses," he said.
The corporation has urged the municipal People's Committee and the Government to green-light the project and facilitate the completion of investment procedures.
Director of the city's Planning and Investment Department, Ngo Van Quy, said that a decree covering betting on horse racing, dog racing and international football was being drafted and considered.
He suggested the corporation develop other facilities excluding horseracing on the approved project area.
Last August, members of the National Assembly Standing Committee discussed the draft decree regarding betting on horse racing, dog racing and international football.
According to a draft proposed by the Finance Ministry, there must be a minimum age of 18 years old and a maximum stake of VND1 million per day for betting.
The draft decree applies to all domestic and foreign individuals and organisations who participate in gambling within the country.
However, lawmakers are cautious about formally legalising betting due to its sensitive nature.
Since 1998, Viet Nam has allowed four companies to hold horse and dog racing, but limited the events to small-scale betting, according to the Finance Ministry.
The country lacked a legal framework to regulate these activities, while 135 countries and territories worldwide had already legalised them.
According to statistics from the Public Security Ministry, more than 1,250 cases of illegal betting were reported between 2000-09 with stakes of up to $1 million. — VNS