Vietnam officially lifts ban on local gambling

Vietnam has officially lifted its long-standing ban on gambling, with locals allowed to enter two selected casinos in the country starting mid-March, local media reports.

The decree, which comes into effect March 15, allows for Vietnam locals over 21 years of age, with a monthly income of at least VND 10 million (US$445) to gamble at approved local casinos through a trial program lasting three-years.

To receive government approval, the casinos must be part of an entertainment and hotel complex with investment capital of at least $2 billion, half of which must have been disbursed, and comply with certain requirements.

Last December, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc announced two casinos are approved under the pilot scheme, one on Phu Quoc Island, and one in the Van Don Special Economic Zone near the Chinese border.

Union Gaming, in a note on Monday said they believed the decree could also allow Ho Tram to apply to be part of the locals pilot. 

The brokerage also added they did not see an impact on Nagacorp which is "mostly insulated" but said border casinos in cities like Bavet Cambodia will likely bear the brunt of the downside. "We would expect many to struggle to survive over the duration of the 3-year Vietnam locals pilot program," said the brokerage. 

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