Vietnam Softens its Stance on Locals Seeking to Gamble

January 18, 2017 / by: Gray Peterson

The current gambling law in Vietnam prohibits locals from engaging in gambling activities in any casino within its borders. However, this is bound to change after the government announced its plans to allow local players to enter into two casinos which will be located outside cities with high traffic. After tinkering with new gaming legislation for years, Vietnam is revising its earlier decision to ban residents from entering gambling establishment.

On 26th of December, 2016, Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc made an announcement indicating that the government was contemplating on allowing its citizens to play at two designated Vietnamese casinos in a three-year test period. Although there are more than three dozens of casinos in Vietnam, the law prohibits residents from entering into gaming facilities, and only international travelers and tourists are allowed to place bets in these casinos.

Despite the prime minister making this announcement, there was limited information about what residents would need to be allowed access to casinos. After years of consultation and discussions, the country’s policymaking committee agreed with the Phuc’s Communist Party to alter the previous gambling decree and allow local casinos to welcome residents. According to various sources, the two casinos are currently under construction with the first casino located in Van Don Special Economic Zone, and the other one in the Southern resort island of Phu Quoc.

When the two casinos are complete, Vietnamese nationals will be allowed to gamble in there, but the casinos will first of all be required to make sure that any customer who gets in their premises earns an income of not less than $440 per month. This trial will continue for three years, and if everything runs smoothly, all casinos will be allowed to welcome residents.

A law for the rich

In the US, a monthly income of $440 is considered to be below poverty level. However, in Vietnam, such a figure represents a substantial salary. It is estimated that the average worker in Vietnam made about $2,200 last year. This means that a vast majority of residents will not attain the minimum income required to enter into a casino. The Vietnamese government is critical of the gambling problem which is becoming a thorn in the flesh for many Asian countries where a large part of their population is struggling with gambling addiction.

The Vietnamese government feels that the process of allowing locals to bet in casinos should be gradual, especially considering that its residents are prone to bad habits when it comes to dealing with casinos. Phuc’s government believes that through the minimum income requirement and the positioning of the two casinos outside highly populated cities are useful measures that can help protect the public from the detrimental effects of gambling.

Following the latest development, various renowned casino operators have expressed interests in bringing their services to this country, but they insist that they would do so if the government fully allows locals to engage in gambling activities.

Tagged with: Land-Based Gambling