Horse-racing courses in the final furlong

July 11, 2016 | 12:01
Hong Kong’s Matrix Holding Limited has proposed to develop 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.
Entertainment complexes are waiting on the government’s decree that could allow betting on races-Photo: Le Toan

According to a VIR’s source, Hong Kong’s Matrix Holding Limited aims to set up a complex which consists of a horse racetrack, a healthcare unit, 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 $47 million, which is known as 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.

The source shared with VIR that investors had calculated the cost for renting land to run the complex. They have spent a great deal of time and effort on this project and emphasised that that they could not make profits from horse racing unless they are permitted to provide entertainment services, such as betting.

According to the draft decree, betting services could only commence after investors have completed the set up of all equipment for the sport game operation. Investors would be also allowed to operate betting shops that offer betting services in selected cities and provinces where the operation would be closely monitored by the Ministry of Finance.

In the same line, last month Australian Golden Turf Club Limited Company received an investment certificate for a $100 million investment for a racecourse in the south-central province of Phu Yen. The course includes a grandstand, horse and dog racing tracks, and a high-class tourism area to prepare for betting services when the decree is ratified.

In the past, many foreign investors have shown interest to invest in horseracing courses in Vietnam, but they had to stall their investment projects because the Vietnamese government had not yet issued regulations on betting services. An example of this is South Korean G.O.Max’s proposal to build a horseracing course valued at $570 million in the northern province of Vinh Phuc, about 50 kilometres northwest of Hanoi.

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.

Lawyers at Duane Morris firm in Vietnam noted that even though the decree were not released, investors could still find some helpful guidelines for their future investment plans in horserace betting services in Vietnam It is noted that while it remains unknown whether the decree on horserace betting will be issued, investors should not play the “wait and see” game. Instead, they should be proactive in approaching the government authorities for specific guidelines and have a clear legal strategy to deal with the known and unknown regulatory obstacles.

By By Phuong Thu

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional