The projects on developing casino and amusement complexes all are worth billions of dollars and cover hundreds of hectares of land. Meanwhile, the casinos which have been operating on the trial basis do not show the necessity of casinos in Vietnam.
A lot of foreign investors have sent words intimating that they want to set up amusement complexes with casinos in Vietnam, even though they well know that casino projects are not welcomed in the country. Experts believe that Vietnam is not the market which can bring fat profits. Therefore, a question has been raised that why do foreign investors still decide to inject multi-billion dollars in Vietnam, if the anticipate the low profits.
Some experts have raised doubts that something could be hidden under the mask of casinos, which could be golf course, real estate and other unforeseeable thing.
Though casino projects are not encouraged in Vietnam, casinos, through different ways, have arisen in many localities, from Lao Cai, Lang Son, Quang Ninh to Da Nang. A lot of projects have been licensed in Lang Son, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Phu Tho. All of the projects are mammoth projects which are expected to create big changes to the local economies.
In December 2011, the US Group Las Vegas Sands expressed its intention to develop a resort complex in Vietnam, worth 6 billion dollars, with casino. In early 2012, the Quang Ninh provincial authorities suggested a 4 billion dollar project, also with casino. If the project gets approval and implemented, this would be another giant project, after the Do Son casino.
While local authorities have launched noisy campaigns to promote the casino projects, experts have rung the alarm bell over the cleanliness of the Ha Long bay.
Over the last few years, waste has been flooding Bai Chay beach and Ha Long bay, which is considered the eighth wonder of the world.
A couple of Australian travelers, who spend time and efforts to fish out the rubbish at the Ha Long Bay, said that the bay is one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. However, they have warned that the pollution would destroy the coral reefs of Ha Long easily, while the muddy water would make travelers refuse to swim.
By relating the story about Ha Long, the experts try to point out that what Vietnam should do now to attract foreign travelers is to settle the environment problems and offer attractive tours. Meanwhile, they have doubts about if casino is a necessary thing to attract travelers, and there have been many examples which show that one country can attract tourists with cultural and heritage tourism, without casino.
By 2009, the number of golf course projects submitted to the government had jumped to 156, and a half of which alone would cover 8000 hectares of agricultural land.
As such, when the area for golf courses increases, the area for agricultural land decreases. A lot of farmers had to leave their land plots to give place to the golf courses.
In late 2009, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung released the decision to cut 76 projects submitted by local authorities. By that time, the number of golf course casino had reached 90.
A survey by the Ministry of Planning and Investment in late 2011 showed that 69 projects out of the 90 ones have been developed as real estate projects instead of golf courses as initially planned.
This happened that investors used agricultural land, turned it into the land for golf courses, while in fact, the land has been used to develop villas and tourism items. Only 30 percent of land has been used for golf courses, while the other 70 percent for real estate and relating items.
Experts warned about the bad consequences of gold courses. A commune in Lam Dong had to “bear” three golf courses, while minority people still had to live in poverty.
Will Vietnam see the casino wave after the golf course wave?