G.O. Max bets on horse races

September 20, 2016 | 09:45
G.O. Max I&D of South Korea is still committed to develop the horse racing course in the northern province of Vinh Phuc, even though the decree on sports betting has continued to be delayed. 
Horse racing will become an attraction for many Vietnamese people Photo: Le Toan

G.O. Max confirmed to VIR that it has submitted the plan to Vinh Phuc authorities. Moreover, the company wants to raise the scale of the project to $1.5 billion from the initial plan of $570 million.

In addition to the horse racing course, the project is going to include a 72-hole golf course, a sports and entertainment area, a horse riding and polo club, residences, and villas, with a total area of 750 hectares.

The horse racing course will have an area of 200 hectares, with three races per week. Besides, G.O. Max will build 70 betting points outside of the course in 54 cities and provinces nationwide, as well as an online betting system and horse rearing and training areas.

“Not everyone can go to the course to bet so it’s necessary to put betting points in other localities, and allow betting online in order to ensure revenue for the project,” said Jung Youngjin, strategy director of G.O. Max.

85 per cent of the capital will be mobilised from partners and financial investors. The project is set to begin operation 36 months after the start of construction. The project expects revenue of $972 million per year in the first five years, and plans to contribute $100 million per year to the state budget

G.O. Max is the biggest horse racing course ever proposed in Vietnam – larger than the one planned for Hanoi by the joint venture between South Korea’s Global Consultant Network and Hanoi Tourist, with the total investment capital of $500 million.

In 2005, G.O. Max proposed the project to Vinh Phuc authorities with the total investment capital of $570 million, but it was not licensed because there was no legal framework for betting in Vietnam. It was assumed that G.O. Max would give up, but recently, there has been news that the government is considering the decree again so G.O. Max is back.

“We continue to wait. On the other hand, we maintain a good relationship with our financial investors and partners to make sure the project is ready to start,” Jung said. He added that he is optimistic about his business plan in Vietnam. Jung said horse betting is new in Vietnam and it will become an attraction for many people.

The decree on betting is taking a long time to arrive. Most recently, the draft decree was still gathering opinions of the public. The most important part of the decree is who gets to bet and how much.

Hong Kong’s Matrix Holding Limited recently also proposed developing a horse racing complex. The move came immediately after the decree on betting services for specific sport games was submitted to the government in June.

According to a VIR’s source, Matrix Holding Limited aims to set up a complex which consists of a horse racetrack, a healthcare unit, and betting and entertainment services in the central city of Danang.

The complex’s total investment capital has not been released, but it will not be less than $45 million, which is the minimum investment capital sum for a horse racing course to be licensed in accordance to the latest draft decree on betting services for specific sport games.

Horse and dog race betting services were allowed in two projects in Ho Chi Minh City and the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, but the horse track was closed in 2011 after seven years of operation. Those courses were invested in by Thien Ma Company and Sport Entertainment Services Company.

By By Nguyen Duc

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