Vietnam Government Lifts Ban on Casino Entry for Citizens

People of Vietnam will finally be able to gamble at casinos starting December. Until now, only foreign nationals were allowed inside the casinos.

The Ministry of Finance in Vietnam issued Circular No 102/2017 which states that a Vietnamese citizen may be permitted to gamble in casinos on certain conditions. For a native to enter a casino, he or she has to present a proof of a minimum income of VND10m (US$440) besides having to prove they are over 21 years old.

As per the new regulations, the casinos are required to keep record books or issue electronic cards to track people who are allowed to enter a casino. Also, there is an obligation to maintain a record of people entering and exiting the casino for a minimum span of 2 years, to help the vigilance and monitoring process of the State management agencies.

As of now, there is no clarity over which casinos will allow entry for locals. There are seven operating casinos in the country in addition to 50 electronic gambling facilities nation-wide. This circular is also expected to increase casino numbers across the country.

For quite a while, the Government has been acknowledging that casinos would drive tourism and bring revenues. The citizens had already received the nod to gamble in local casinos earlier this year but could not do so for the lack of a guiding circular.

The new circular has already garnered public criticism, with people refuting the regulations limiting entry based on income. A person must be paying income tax at level 3 or higher to gain entry, but in Vietnam, 70% of payers are assessed at level 1. There is also a difference of opinion over the daily maximum gambling limit of VND1 million, which some find is too low to attract high income earners and for the Government to achieve its revenue targets.

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