Casinos` impacts on economic growth become controversial

  • April 10, 2014

Many provinces in Vietnam are asking for permission to open casinos, however, the Ministry of Finance said they are unsure about the effects of those projects on the country`seconomic growth.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the draft degree on casino business in Vietnam will be submitted to the National Assembly on April 17.

Meanwhile, minister Nguyen Quang Vinh said that he has already received profiles from ten provinces nation-wide asking for permits to open casinos.

Vietnam has given permits to seven casino projects. Six of them are small-scaled and only opened for foreign passport holders. The last casino project in Chu Lai Open Economic Zone, invested by Genting Malaysia Berhard and Vinacapital, has not gone into operation because Genting Malaysia Berhard withdrew. Still, the managers of Chu Lai want Vinacapital to continue the project with the US-based Peninsula Pacific.

Ho Tram Strip casino project in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province is urging the government to let them operate the casino service ahead of time and lift a ban on local gamblers.

Because local authorities are hoping to use casino projects as an economic leverage for their localities, provinces with special economic zones such as Quang Ninh and Phu Quoc, to smaller provinces like Vinh Phuc are all seeking permits to get into the casino business.

The Ministry of Finance said in 2012, revenues of casinos in Vietnam was VND930 billion, which contributed VND254 billion to the state budget and each project provided jobs for 200 to 500 employees.

Investors said Vietnam is on an ideal location for the business. It only takes one hour flight time from many capital cities in Asia to Vietnam. It shares a borderline with China, which is housing many gamblers. Moreover, one third of Vietnam`s population is under 30 with increasing incomes. Investors of Ho Tram Strip even said they can attract many visitors from Macao, a gambling destination.

Ho Tram Strip casino project

However, economic experts think that the casino business is not economic leverage. "If it`s true then why does China not open gambling centre on their mainland? Thailand does not have one and Singapore has just allowed this business in 2011. If every requests to open casinos were accepted, Vietnam would have the most casinos in the world. We must consider this issue carefully," economic expert Nguyen Mai said.

He further said economic leverage to attract FDI must be technology, skillful human resource and policies to prevent corruption.


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