Prominent Vietnamese lawmakers back opening casinos to locals

    Some prominent Vietnamese lawmakers are backing a bill opening up the country’s casinos to Vietnamese gamblers in a bid to recover some of the funds currently being spent by locals travelling to neighbouring countries to gamble, local media reported. Nguyen Van Hien, chairman of the legal committee under the National Assembly said: “The decree should stipulate that locals be allowed at casinos instead of delaying the issue.” In August last year, the government decided to allow locals meeting certain criteria to gamble at a casino under construction in the Van Don Economic Zone in Quang Ninh Province bordering China. Tong Thi Phong, also a deputy speaker, said a draft decree being drawn up will be the highest legal document on the casino business. “In 2007, the Politburo considered allowing locals to enter casinos in Vietnam,” she said. “I think allowing locals to enter casinos would allow for effective management. As such, I believe criteria should be established to allow locals to enter casinos.” However, the bill still faces stiff opposition from lawmakers concerned about the impact on local culture and values.