HÀ NỘI — Three localities have proposed new casino projects and to pilot allowing Vietnamese people to play.
The central coastal province of Khánh Hòa proposed a casino business project on Hòn Tre island, Nha Trang City, while the central city of Đà Nẵng proposed a project at Sun World Bà Nà Hill tourist area, and the south-central province of Bình Thuận proposed a project in Đại Dương valley tourist area in Phan Thiết City.
The Ministry of Finance has submitted a report to the Prime Minister on issues related to casino management and draft alternatives to Decree 03/2017/NĐ-CP on casino businesses.
The Ministry of Finance has reported to the Prime Minister to supplement casino businesses in only two projects: Bà Nà Hill tourist area invested by Sun Group and at Hòn Tre island invested by Vinpearl JSC.
The two projects are expected to aid tourism development, as well as attract international visitors and financial investors.
For Sun World Bà Nà Hill tourist area, the investor has invested VNĐ16 trillion (US$695 million) in the project. There has been no large-scale casino in Đà Nẵng city so far.
The tourism and entertainment complex with a casino on Hòn Tre island, Nha Trang City, has seen Vinpearl JSC invest VNĐ25.7 trillion so far, including a hotel, an amusement park, a golf course and a convention centre.
Regarding the casino project in Bình Thuận, the Ministry of Finance said that although the locality had grown in tourism, the number of international visitors was not enough.
The Hồ Tràm casino project in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province, which is operating inefficiently, is located near Bình Thuận.
Currently, there are two casinos in Phú Quốc Island and a casino in Vân Đồn Island being piloted for Vietnamese people to play.
The pilot period is from 2019 to 2022. However, due to the impact of the pandemic, the Ministry of Finance has proposed extending the trial period until 2024.
The Ministry of Finance reported that there were 240,560 visitors to Phú Quốc casino by the end of September last year, of which 35 per cent were foreign and 65 per cent Vietnamese.
The revenue minus payment costs of Phú Quốc casino is VNĐ3.2 trillion. Currently, the casino has lost about VNĐ3.9 trillion.
Talking to Người Lao Động (Labourer) newspaper, Nguyễn Mại, Chairman of the Việt Nam Association of Foreign Investment Enterprises (VAFIE), said that the proposals for casino investment needed to be considered carefully because the current casino business was not effective or even loss-making.
It is not advisable to open more casinos when the existing casinos face many difficulties, he added.
In addition, Việt Nam was in the process of completing the legal corridor, from licensing casino business to piloting Vietnamese people to play, said Mại.
These need to be completed, with a specific impact assessment before considering opening more casinos, he noted.
Lawyer Diệp Năng Bình, from the HCM City Bar Association, said that the casino business had two sides. Besides attracting tourists, adding revenue to the budget, and solving labour and employment issues, negative issues should also be carefully considered.
Issues of cash flow management and tax collection needed a strict inspection and supervision mechanism, and caution should be exercised when licensing new casino projects in some localities, he said. — VNS