More investors want to open casinos in Vietnam

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The latest report of the Ministry of Finance to the Government has reflected the results of casino business activities of nine firms in Vietnam.

They include: Phu Quoc casino (Kien Giang), Do Son casino (Hai Phong), Loi Lai casino (Quang Ninh), Royal casino (Quang Ninh), Hong Van hotel casino (Quang Ninh), Lao Cai international hotel casino (Lao Cai), Silver Shorts casino (Da Nang), Ho Tram casino (Ba Ria – Vung Tau) and Nam Hoi An casino (Quang Nam).

More investors want to open casinos in Vietnam

Accordingly, in the period of 2017-2019, casino business has grown over the years, with an average revenue of about 1,700 billion VND/year, and the average tax payment to the state budget of about 858 billion VND/year.

Specifically, revenue from casino business in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 respectively reached 1,190 billion VND, 1,399 billion VND (up 34% over the previous year), 2,677 billion VND (up 65% over the previous year), 1,727 billion VND (72% compared to the previous year).

Revenue and tax payment from casino business in Phu Quoc was the highest among nine casino businesses as it is allowed to serve Vietnamese players, followed by the casino in Ba Ria – Vung Tau of Ho Tram Project Company Limited and casino in Da Nang of Silver Shores Investment and Development Company Limited.

Payment to the state budget in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 were 645 billion VND, 898 billion VND (up 39% over the previous year), 1,351 billion VND (up 63% over the previous year), 699 billion VND (equal to 52% over the previous year).

In the first half of 2021, casino revenue reached 1,359 billion VND, tax payment was 697 billion VND.

However, since 2020, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, casino business has plummeted because some businesses had to temporarily suspend their business to under lockdown and travel restrictions between countries.

The Covid-19 epidemic caused casino revenue in the first 9 months of 2021 to decrease by 29% compared to 2020 and by 26% compared to 2019.

For the casino project in Phu Quoc, Vietnamese players were admitted since January 19, 2018. According to data of the Ministry of Finance and a report of the People’s Committee of Kien Giang province, for the first 9 months in 2021, due to the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic, the total number of visitors decreased by 27% compared to 2020 and 45% compared to 2019. Particularly, international visitors reduced by 72% compared to 2020 and 90% compared to 2019.

Since this casino began operation until late September 2021, the Ministry of Finance said that its revenue minus the cost of paying bonuses is 3,218 billion VND. Casino business results (revenue from casino minus casino operating expenses, interest payment expenses and depreciation expenses) in this period was a total loss of 3,967 billion VND. The business result of the whole project was at loss of 2,763 billion VND.

Total payment to the state budget (including fees collected from tickets sold to Vietnamese people) is 1,647 billion VND, of which the total amount collected from tickets sold to Vietnamese people is 130 billion VND.

The number of visitors to the casino fluctuated from quarter to quarter due to a sharp decrease in the number of foreign visitors to the casino, and the business results of the casino in Phu Quoc largely depend on domestic players. However, before the complicated development of the epidemic, many localities implemented social distancing and limited domestic flights, so the source of domestic customers continued to be affected and affected the casino’s business results in the fourth quarter of 2021 and the first months of 2022.

The Ministry of Finance said that the casino has not attracted many high-class players; most Vietnamese players are small and there are no monthly ticket buyers.

Therefore, in order to have more time to evaluate casino business, the Ministry of Finance has proposed extending the pilot implementation period (giving admission to Vietnamese players to casinos) to 2024. After 2024, relevant agencies will review comprehensively evaluate the pilot process to consider whether Vietnamese players should be given admission to casinos or not.

Luong Bang

Da Nang and Khanh Hoa have received support for their casino projects, but Binh Thuan has no support from the Ministry of Finance (MOF).

While newly-issued decrees for business in prize-winning electronic games for non-nationals in Vietnam is expected to bring better management in the sector, some outstanding issues are been reflected on.

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