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Vietnam Wants Its Gamblers Staking Their $800 Million at Home
28-02-2017, 01:57 PM. (This post was last modified: 17-03-2017, 07:45 PM by cyclone. Edit Reason: Added writer and date )
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Vietnam Wants Its Gamblers Staking Their $800 Million at Home
Vietnam Wants Its Gamblers Staking Their $800 Million at Home
Vietnamese casinos are opening to locals for the first time in a pilot plan to help ease government debt.

by Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen and Luu Van Dat
February 28, 2017, 5:00 AM GMT+8 Updated on February 28, 2017, 3:20 PM GMT+8

Vietnam’s revolutionary founder Ho Chi Minh relied on lottery ticket sales to raise money for schools and hospitals during the war years. Now Hanoi’s Communist leaders are looking to casinos, horse betting and modern lottery-ticket machines to do the same.

So far this year, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has issued two decrees aimed at upping Vietnam’s game in the regional competition for gambling revenue while reducing the country’s growing budget deficit. A pilot plan to take effect in March will allow Vietnamese to gamble in the country’s casinos for the first time—currently only foreigners can. Another will allow bets nationwide on horse and dog races, as well as international soccer matches. This follows what officials call an “American-style” lottery started last year by the finance ministry in partnership with Malaysia’s Berjaya Corp.

”They need tax revenues,” said Alexandre Legendre, a Hanoi-based partner at Leadco Legal Counsel, which has advised foreign investors on the country’s gambling opportunities. “The fiscal situation of the country is under pressure.”

Vietnamese going abroad to such gambling locales as Macau, Singapore—and just across the border in Cambodia—spend an estimated $800 million on gambling every year, according to Augustine Ha Ton Vinh, an adviser to the Van Don Special Economic Zone where a casino funded by local investor Sun Group is planned about 175 kilometers (110 miles) northeast of Hanoi. 

Now the government will aim to keep that money at home.

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