The Vietnam casino landscape is slowly adjusting to the modern gaming industry. The Asian country’s regulatory authorities have granted a gaming license to the Laguna Lăng Cô Resort, marking the first time for such an issuance in 10 years.
Chairman Nguyen Van Cao of the Provincial People’s Committee made it official by presenting the gaming license to Ho Kwon Ping — chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings — at a recent business forum in Singapore.
The Grand Ho Tram Strip was given the green light in 2008, and that was the last license granted until Laguna Lăng Cô.
Phase Two Kickoff
Officials with Laguna Lăng Cô managing partner Banyan Tree Holdings — a Singapore-based resort developer — have been waiting for this day since the project first opened in 2013.
Located in the Thua Thien Hue Province along Vietnam’s central north coast, the first phase of the project features 57 villas, 229 rooms, and an 18-hole golf course.
Stakeholders in the project have been holding out hope for a new casino license ever since it opened. That a move came recommended by Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment earlier this year. Phase Two of the development is now set to begin, according to Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings Ho Kwon Ping, who spoke to TTGAsia.
“Many hotel investors and development funds have been awaiting the casino license and the selection of a casino operator before finalizing their investment into [the property’s second phase],” Ho said.
While there’s no official word on who will run the casino gaming operations, Hard Rock International has previously expressed interest in the project. Reports indicate that they’ve now reached an agreement with the Vietnamese government to partner in the project, although that has yet to be confirmed.
Once completed, the new casino resort will feature 500 gaming machines and 50 tables games, in addition to 2,200 villas and apartments, and as many as six five-star hotels.
Trial Local Play Caveat
Now that the casino project is moving forward, the question of whether local Vietnamese will be allowed to play there looms.
The government recently strayed from its longstanding policy of not allowing locals to play in the country’s own gaming venues. In December, authorities announced that Vietnamese residents who met a minimum income requirement of $440 USD per month would be allowed to play at select casinos.
However, it’s only a three-year pilot project meant to measure the impact that the casinos have on their society. It’s not a permanent change to the law, and since the new Laguna Lăng Cô casino project won’t be completed until 2022, it appears the venue won’t be open in time to take advantage of the trial window for locals.
On top of the numerous new hotels and amenities, the $2 billion dollar project will include significant infrastructure upgrades in an effort to handle the expected rush of tourists the new resort is expected to attract.