Government considering allowing locals into casinos for the first time.
The Vietnamese government is seriously considering relaxing restrictions on gambling as a means to promote tourism and increase employment and tax revenue. Under current Vietnamese gambling laws only a handful of casinos can legally operate and can only serve tourists. Citizens are barred from gambling, leading many to enter bordering Cambodia to enjoy the activity.
Government sources have indicated that it is considering legalizing casinos offering services to domestic gamblers. It has proposed that an experimental domestic casino could be built on Van Don Island. The opening of amenities like Vietnamese poker rooms would help keep gambling money at home.
Industry losing millions of dollars annually
Gambling industry spokesman have been adamant that expanding legal gambling will be good for the country’s economy. One academic estimated that the government is losing $800 million annually in tax revenue by citizens placing wagers in Cambodia.
Legalizing domestic gambling as well as expanding licenses for resort casino projects could help the country become a regional gambling hub. Some estimate that the industry has the potential to produce $3 billion annually.
While the government has courted some major international firms, some casino projects have had mixed success due to funding problems, poor infrastructure and cancelled contracts. MGM and Genting recently pulled out of projects in Vietnam due to such difficulties.