VAFIE proposes casino investment to buttress tourism growth

May 15, 2020 | 09:21
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Promoting casino and prize-winning games at local hotels and resort venues is one of the proposals to spur tourism development, leveraging the establishment of a national council governing such activities.
vafie proposes casino investment to buttress tourism growth
The VAFIE has proposed diverse measures to revive tourism growth, including stimulating gaming business

The Vietnam Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises (VAFIE) has just sent a document to the government suggesting a raft of measures to help the local economy rebound, including the proposal to beef up the promotion of casino and prize-winning games.

In the document, Prof. Nguyen Mai, chairman of VAFIE, noted that as the prime minister has given instructions on taking measures to ensure a quick rebound of local tourism as well as prepare the necessary conditions for the revival of outbound travel once other countries succeed in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, developing tourism entertainment capitalising on available resources plus a system of synchronised measures would be a smart move.

The VAFIE argues that since the government Decree No.86/2013/ND-CP on the business of prize-winning electronic games for foreigners took effect, such activities have gained a footprint in 43 hotels of diverse sizes and resort venues having casinos.

Since the relevant legal framework has been put in place, the casino and prize-winning electronic game market has seen stable growth each year, with the current market size double than it was before the decree was enacted.

Since the relevant legal framework has been put in place, the casino and prize-winning electronic game market has seen stable growth each year, with the current market size double than it was before the decree was enacted.

The economic and social effects of this field, however, have yet to be commensurate with its potential. This is attributable to the sensitive nature of this field, leading to different opinions by authorised management agencies regarding foreign investment attraction into this field.

Not less important, the prize-winning game and casino business is managed by the Ministry of Finance, but the ministry's finite resources have resulted in delays in evaluation and provision of business registration certificates, operation adjustment, supervision and guidance, or inspection to timely detect issues.

Leveraging international experience, particularly that of Australia and Singapore which have efficient legal corridors in place to reap the rewards of betting services while minimising negative impacts, the VAFIE has voiced the importance of perfecting relevant institutions as well as improve the state management apparatus in this field.

Along with this, the association suggested amending and perfecting the laws and policies on gaming activities to better align with international practice, ensuring a stable and transparent regulatory system to enable Vietnamese individuals and organisations and foreign investors to invest and do business in Vietnam effectively and further attract international visitors.

Regarding state management, the VAFIE proposed two alternatives: either establishing a national council to govern prize-winning gaming as did Singapore, or allowing provincial and municipal people’s committees to grant licenses, manage, and supervise such activities as in Australia.

“Based on our country’s current circumstances, the first model might be chosen to ensure the well-oriented and unified management of prize-winning gaming on a national scale,” the VAFIE suggested.

According to the VAFIE figures, since Decree No.86/2013/ND-CP came into force, the Ministry of Finance has granted certificates of meeting business conditions to 43 hotels and resort venues in diverse areas with robust economic and tourism development such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Khanh Hoa, and Danang, with a total of 2,611 operating slot machines.

These include six casinos with investment value below $50 million in Lao Cai, Quang Ninh, Haiphong, and Danang city, two large casinos in Vung Tau (above $4 billion) and in Phu Quoc (over $2 billion); and three other large casinos which have yet to start operation in Quang Nam, Khanh Hoa, and Thua Thien- Hue.

In 2018, the casinos brought in VND13.248 trillion ($576 million) in total revenue and paid VND2.785 trillion ($121 million) to the state coffers. On average, since 2013, prize-winning games business has contributed to state coffers around VND1.9 trillion ($82.6 million) annually.

By Ha Thuy

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