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Casinos still off-limits to Vietnamese

Vietnamese residents should have been admitted to local casinos from last Wednesday when a three-year pilot scheme took effect. However, casino operators have denied Vietnamese entry due to a lack of guidance, Lao Dong newspaper reports.

Casinos still off-limits to Vietnamese

Seven businesses have been licensed to operate casinos in Vietnam.

Pham Ngoc Nam, deputy general director of Royal International Corp – the owner of a five-star hotel complex with a casino in Halong City, told the paper that the firm has been waiting for a guiding circular on the implementation of Government Decree 03/2017/ND-CP which allows Vietnamese passport holders to enter casinos.

He said the decree allows Vietnamese people in casinos for a three-year period, but the Government has yet to issue official guidelines. The requirements for casino entry, especially income, are unclear.

He said other casinos in Quang Ninh Province and other localities are in wait-and-see mode as well.

That gamblers must prove their monthly income of at least VND10 million (around US$439) seems to be a tough challenge, said a representative of another casino.

“Many casino goers are self-employed and wealthy but unwilling to apply for income certificates,” he explained.

A representative of the Ministry of Finance said the Department of Banking and Financial Institutions is finalizing draft guidelines for the implementation of the decree on casino business. However, he refused to say when it comes out.

The representative said the delay in issuing the guidance circular is unavoidable, as this is the first time Vietnamese gamblers have got the green light for entering casinos in the country. 

Many issues should be taken into careful consideration.

Economist Nguyen Minh Phong shared the same view, saying that technically, the guidance circular should be available upon the promulgation of the decree. 

However, there is no precedent for this, thereby requiring careful preparation.

The decree specifies Vietnamese citizens admitted to casinos must be at least 21 years old with regular monthly income of at least VND10 million or being subject to the third range of taxable income which is VND10-18 million a month under the Law on Personal Income Tax. 

The Ministry of Finance is responsible for providing them with application forms for these conditions.

Gamblers will not be allowed in if their family members like parents, parents-in-law, spouses and children submit formal requests for preventing them from casinos.

Besides, those who have violated national security rules or committed other crimes abroad resulting in more than three years of imprisonment will not be allowed in casinos. 

This includes those serving jail terms, with or without bail, or any other form of legal punishment.