Vietnam’s long-delayed casino bill draft submitted to parliament

Vietnam’s draft casino bill, which has been seven years in the making, has been submitted to the country’s government, the Vietnam Investment Review reports.

The decree will allow local Vietnamese access to casinos for the first time.

“We hope that this will be the last draft, already we have seen a lot of revisions before its submission in June,” Nguyen Huy Dat, deputy director of the Ministry of Finance’s (MoF) Lottery and Gambling Division, was cited as saying.

The report also confirmed that the latest draft cuts the minimum investment requirement in half to $2 billion, with a condition that disbursed capital must reach at least $1 billion. That’s a figure that may still be considered as high for Asia’s emerging markets. The report gave no timetable for the next step for the bill.

The Vietnam government is considering opening up to locals to stop an estimated $800 million of potential tax revenue being lost annually by Vietnamese going overseas to gamble.

The locals ban and foot dragging on legislation have been seen as a major hindrance for foreign investors considering entrance to the market.

According to statistics by the Ministry of Finance, as of end-2014, Vietnam licensed eight businesses to run casinos. The government has also recently allowed the development of two large-scale casino projects in Van Don in the northern province of Quang Ninh, and in Phu Quoc of the southern province of Kien Giang.