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Phu Quoc pilot casino with $259.1 mln in accumulated losses


The Vietnamese Ministry of Finance revealed in a recent report that its pilot casino in Phu Quoc has accumulated over VND6.4 trillion ($259.1 million) in accumulated losses until now.

According to The Vietnam News, the Ministry has submitted a report to the National Assembly, shedding light on the state of the casino industry in the country. Minister of Finance Ho Duc Phuoc emphasized that the pilot project allowing Vietnamese individuals to gamble is facing financial setbacks due to dwindling participation.

Initially, a trial period for Vietnamese citizens to gamble in certain casinos on Phu Quoc Island and in Van Don District was permitted by the Politburo in 2016, spanning three years. However, only the casino project on Phu Quoc Island has been operational since January 2019.

Despite ongoing trials and active collaboration among ministries and sectors, the report indicates accumulating losses in the project.

Revenue generated from the project from 2019 to 2023 surpassed VND6.4 trillion ($259.1 million), with a notable increase in 2023 compared to the previous year, contributing substantially to the State budget.

The decline in the number of Vietnamese players, accounting for only 39 percent of total visitors in 2023, has been a notable challenge. The report attributes this decline partly to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with foreign visitors gradually returning since 2022.

Despite challenges, the casino industry has shown signs of recovery, with State budget contributions reaching over VND2.54 trillion ($102.8 million) in 2023, a significant increase from 2022, creating approximately 8,500 jobs.

Looking ahead, Minister Phớc proposed stricter criteria for granting licenses to casino businesses, emphasizing large-scale investments in service, tourism, commerce, and entertainment sectors, with a minimum investment of $2 billion.

Additionally, casinos can only commence operations after disbursing at least 50 percent of the total investment capital and must obtain specific approvals from the Politburo and Prime Minister.

Nelson Moura
Nelson Moura
Editor and reporter with 10 years of experience in Greater China, namely Taiwan and Macau, in printed and online media, with a focus on finance, gaming, politics, crime, business and social issues.