Vietnamese Casinos Request Access for Locals to Compensate for Tourist Restrictions

Casinos in Vietnam ask the government to allow locals to enter land-based gaming facilities as a way to offset the losses that resulted from the flight restrictions for foreigners during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Several casino owners based in Vietnam recently issued a petition to the respective authorities in the country, asking for their facilities in locations such as Quang Nam and Ba Ria-Vung Tau to be allowed to welcome locals.

Vietnamese Casinos Suffer Revenue Drop During the Pandemic

Due to the flight restrictions in the last few months during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the revenue of local casinos reached extreme lows. Currently, only two land-based casinos in Vietnam are allowed to accept local players. These are the ones located in the Phu Quoc island and the Quang Ninh province.

For the longest time, the Vietnamese government has deemed gambling as harmful activity and has banned locals from entering brick-and-mortar casinos located in the country. In 2019, however, the government put a start to a three-year trial period and decided to allow several Vietnamese land-based casinos to welcome locals. The casino operators that have received licenses to provide their services to local players have been individually picked and there is no clarity on the number of local casinos that can welcome customers who reside in Vietnamese.

To be able to enter the aforementioned local casinos, Vietnamese players must be at least 21 or older. Another condition they need to meet is to have a monthly income of at least VND10 million ($430) and have no criminal record. To be able to play at land-based casinos in the country, Vietnamese residents must also have their families’ approval.

Local players who wish to enter a Vietnamese casino will also need to pay an entrance fee. The daily fee amounts to VND1 million ($43), while the sum that is required for a monthly entrance fee is VND25 million ($1,000).

Flight Restrictions Worsen the Situation for Struggling Vietnamese Land-Based Casinos

There are a total of eight brick-and-mortar casinos in Vietnam which have combined revenue of VND2.5 trillion in 2019. After Casino Corona in Phu Quoc became the first land-based casino licensed to offer its services to locals in Vietnam, about 45% of the casino’s customers were represented by Vietnamese residents.

Unfortunately, the global Covid-19 pandemic struck the revenue of the gambling industry in the country. The reason for that is that the majority of the casinos in Vietnam are still allowed to accept only non-Vietnamese residents. During the pandemic, however, the number of tourists visiting the country drastically decreased, impacting negatively the casino sector of Vietnam. With the latest tourist flight restrictions, local casinos are experiencing even bigger losses.

RIC is the company that operates the biggest land-based casino located in the Quang Ninh province. While last year it reported a loss of VND82 billion ($3.6 million), the pandemic has made things even worse, with reported accumulated losses of VND310 billion.

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