Allowing unfettered access to casinos throughout the country would be a boon for the tourism industry. That was the message delivered by Nguyen Chi Dung, chairman of the People’s Committee of the south central Ninh Thuan Province, at a conference in Ho Chi Minh City last week.
‘Vietnam Top Property Opportunities 2009’, on October 21, was organized by the Vietnam Tourism Property Association and the Sao Khue Joint Stock Company.
Dung said the limited gambling allowed in the country has not deterred illegal gambling taking root in the country.
Tran Long, chairman of the Viet Hai Dang Investment & Entertainment Service Co., said if the casino business were better organized they also be easier to control.
Rather than banning casinos, the government should consider developing the industry as prohibition just works to make the public more curious about gambling.
Participants said the government should not create administrative barriers to hinder licensed gambling facilities, The Saigon Times Daily reported.
One major obstacle for the business is a regulation which bans Vietnamese from entering casinos.
Vietnamese, in fact, have been visiting other countries in the region, such as Thailand, Cambodia and Singapore, to gamble for years, and the current ban only encourages local gamblers to travel overseas more often.
A survey found that Vietnamese account for 95 percent of all players at the casinos near the Moc Bai border gate between Cambodia and Vietnam.
Nguyen Ngoc My, chairman of the Vabis Group, said once neighboring countries established casinos; they would join hands with airlines for low-cost package tours to lure more Vietnamese to their countries for gambling and sightseeing.
There are currently 186 operational casinos in Asia, 14 of which are in Cambodia. But Vietnam only has four casinos, all of which are located in the northern provinces of Quang Ninh and Lao Cai and northern coastal Hai Phong City.
The four facilities are small and open to foreigners and overseas Vietnamese only.