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ECONOMY

Open to Vietnamese, Phu Quoc Casino set to pay US$860 million tax in first 5 years

Updated at Thursday, 27 Dec 2018, 09:00
The Hanoitimes - The casino-integrated entertainment complex would have 100 card game tables and 1,000 slot machines, according to Tuoi Tre News.
The operator of the casino-integrated investment project in Vietnam’s largest island Phu Quoc, which would be allowed to receive Vietnamese players on a three-year pilot scheme, is expected to gross a tax revenue of VND19.95 trillion (US$860 million) in its first five years of operation, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI). 
 
Illustrative photo.
Illustrative photo.
The casino is part of a tourism and entertainment complex under the investment of Phu Quoc Tourism Development and Investment Company, in which Vingroup holds a 50% stake.

By integrating the casino business, total investment in the complex increased to VND50 trillion (US$2.14 billion), of which VND27.5 trillion (US$1.24 billion) or 55.2% of total registered capital has been disbursed. The project is scheduled to start operation in 2021.

In late November, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc approved the project and allowed Vietnamese to gamble in the casino on a trial basis. According to the Law on Investment, casino is a conditional business and needs approval from the prime minister.

As of present, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) is seeking feedback from government agencies before issuing the casino business license for the investor, Tuoi Tre News reported. 

The license is expected to be valid in 20 years, making the project the largest casino-integrated entertainment complex in Vietnam with 200 card game tables and 2,000 slot machines. However, under the current disbursement rate, the MoF would temporarily issue license for investor operating 100 card game tables and 1,000 slot machines. 

This would result in an investment capital of US$10 million for one card game table and 10 slot machines. 

Previously, only foreign passport holders were allowed to gamble in the country's 30 casinos and electronic gaming parlors. 

In January 2017, the government issued Decree No.03 providing a legal framework for casino businesses took effect. The decree allows local Vietnamese citizens who are 21 or older and who have a regular income of at least VND10 million (US$441) per month to access and play at Vietnam-based casinos. 

In order to access a casino in Vietnam, Vietnamese players must buy an entrance ticket at a cost of VND1 million (US$44) per 24 consecutive hours, or VND25 million (US$1,100) per month. The entire proceeds from ticket sales shall go to the provincial budget where the casino is located.

Recently, the PM has also given permission Laguna Lang Co Company in Thua Thien-Hue province to operate a casino, following a permission for the investor Bayan Tree Holdings (Singapore) to raise the project's investment capital to US$2 billion. 

In 2016, the US$4-billion South Hoi An integrated casino resort located in the central province of Quang Nam started constructions through a collaboration among VinaCapital, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises (Hong Kong) and SunCity Group (Macau). The first phase of the project is expected to be launched by early 2019.

Once completed, it will be the second-largest casino in Vietnam after the Grand Ho Tram Strip resort and casino complex located in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau. 

Additionally, there are other three billion-dollar casino projects in the pipeline in Van Don, Bac Van Phong and Phu Quoc, which will likely become the first three special economic zones (SEZs) in the country. But the Natonal Assembly in June postponed a vote on a bill on the three SEZs due to concern over incentives and land lease period.
Ngoc Thuy
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