Vietnam is considering building a nearly $2.2 billion integrated resort casino in the Van Don Special Economic Zone in the Quang Ninh Province located in the northeastern corner of the country.
A corner of the Van Don Special Economic Zone where the Vietnamese government is proposing an integrated resort casino. The nearly $2.2 billion project is being proposed by the Vietnam Ministry of Planning and Investment. (Image: Vietnam Authority of Tourism)
Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment this week submitted a report to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh seeking approval for a VN$51.55 trillion (US$2.18 billion) project that would include a casino and resort. The scheme is targeting the Van Yen Village in the Special Economic Zone.
Vietnam’s Special Economic Zones are enclosed regions established to attract investment and promote socio-economic development to better fund national defense and security programs.
Vietnamese government officials with the Planning and Investment Ministry believe an integrated resort and casino complex in Van Don would employ 6,000 people and generate annual revenue of VN$8.16 trillion (US$336 million) for the state government. The ministry’s proposal did not include specific details as to what the resort might entail.
Vietnam has for decades been home to legal casinos, but the gaming venues have been limited for foreigners. In an effort to crack down on underground gambling networks, Vietnamese lawmakers in 2017 authorized two casinos for residents.
Vietnamese residents can also partake in the state-run lottery and legal sports betting. Resident gamblers must be at least 21 years old and are capped at wagering one million dong per day (US$42).
The first casino for locals, the Corona Resort & Casino, opened in 2019 in Phu Quoc City in the Kien Giang Province in South Vietnam. The casino has about 1,000 slots and 100 table games.
Foreigners are permitted entry and the right to gamble after proving they earn at least VN$10 million (US$412) or more a month. A daily entry costs VN$1 million, with monthly tickets offered at VN$25 million.
The Corona Casino & Resort complex is owned by Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup Company and operated by Netherlands-based Upfinnity Gaming Management.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment believes the second and final locals casino should be built in Northeastern Vietnam. Should the prime minister sign off on the plan, the Planning and Investment Ministry says construction could begin next year, with the resort ready for guests by 2032.
Pressing Ahead Despite International Alarms
Since Vietnam legalized casinos, international officials have expressed concerns that the country lacks adequate money laundering safeguards. Though Vietnam implemented an anti-money laundering law in March 2023 that requires large transactions to be reported to the government, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in a September policy report wrote that “the transnational organized crime landscape in Southeast Asia has evolved dramatically in recent years.”
The latest Financial Action Task Force mutual evaluation reports conducted for … Vietnam demonstrate that the regulatory and enforcement mechanisms in place in relation to casinos and Special Economic Zones are not robust enough to address the heightened risks associated with money laundering in the casino industry,” the UN report detailed.
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