Changes needed to make Vietnam appealing to investors, says Union Gaming

Vietnam is only likely to be appealing to foreign casino investors if rumoured changes to a casino bill, such as reducing the minimum investment required, are incorporated into a final draft, Union Gaming says in a report.

Given the gaming industry trends seen in Asia as a result of reduced Chinese VIP patronage, Union Gaming believes changes to the minimum investment requirement would be a good move to attract more investors.

“Minimum investment requirement could be cut in half to USD2bn, from USD4bn (in our view this is critical and the number should be even lower still especially in the context of the Chinese VIP story being radically different than just a few years ago.”

On the topic of locals gambling, Union Gaming says there’s a chance this will be seen in 2016, but only at select casinos and only for those meeting certain wealth thresholds, as well as potentially incurring an entry fee at the venue, similar to that of Singapore. If locals are approved, the location of the approved IRs would be critical, Union Gaming continues.

“Current thinking includes a north, central, south and southwest (southwest being Phu Quoc island) strategy.”

However, before anything happens relating to legislation, there will be the selection of a new general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, which should occur in late Jan. Only following the selection of the new general secretary, the discussions related to the draft decree on gaming will continue. Union Gaming “wouldn’t expect anything substantive before late spring or summer.”