Ho Tram may be permitted to serve locals: Experts

There is a chance that Vietnam’s Ho Tram casino may be approved as a location for Vietnamese gambling, say industry experts.

Earlier this week, it was reported that the government had officially lifted its long-standing ban on gambling, allowing locals to enter approved casinos.

For a casino to receive the governmental go-ahead, it must be part of an entertainment and hotel complex with investment capital of at least $2 billion, half of which must have been disbursed, and comply with certain requirements.

While Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc announced in December that only two casinos were approved under the pilot scheme (one on Phu Quoc Island, and one in the Van Don Special Economic Zone near the Chinese border), experts believe the wording of the decree is one that could potentially allow Ho Tram to apply to be part of the pilot.

“We do believe that the language of the decree could also allow Ho Tram to apply to be part of the locals pilot,” said Union Gaming in a note on Monday.

“This final decree… was written in such a way that the “competent authorities” have the final say in keeping Van Don and Phu Quoc as the only two approved for locals to play or to allow other integrated resorts, e.g. Ho Tram to join the crowd,” said industry expert Augustine Vinh.

“Normally, the decree will say “competent government authorities” which means decision rests with the Prime Minister and / or his Cabinet. The Ho Tram project’s fate falls under this unclear scenario,” he explained.