Last update 2/23/2012 10:38:00 AM (GMT+7)

Casino question: Should Vietnam try to “gamble?”

VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam, which once had to think to choose the growth model for itself, now once again has to rack its brain to think about whether to license two resort complexes in Vietnam which have the total investment capital of up to six billion dollars.

Las Vegas Sands wishes to enter Vietnam, with casino

Casinos: government keeps cautious, investors get impatient

If the project is licensed, Vietnam will become the fourth country in the world where Las Vegas Sands injects money in to develop resort complexes.

As for Vietnam, this would be one of the biggest ever investment projects in the country. Meanwhile, this would be the biggest ever investment project of the US group in a country.

The biggest barrier for the project which may make the project become unfeasible is that the investor intends to develop a casino.

People might think that Vietnam should say “no” to the investor, because it does not welcome casino projects in Vietnam. However, the big scale of the project has forced Vietnam to rethink. Especially, Vietnam now wants to have more driving force to develop tourism and compete with other regional countries.

Nearly all neighboring countries have casinos or intend to develop casinos. Singapore, for example, has joined the race to develop casinos in the region when licensing the amusement complex, including a big casino, recycling park and luxury hotel with the construction costs expected to reach 5.7 billion dollars.

The noteworthy thing is that Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong once refused casino projects, but he has changed his mind.

Though debate about casinos still continues, Thai parliament has advocated the legalization of casino business to help develop economy. Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia have also been trying to strengthen investment on the existing bases and scrambling for bidding the Singaporean casino project.

Gambling has been prohibited by the laws since 1908, but over the last many years, the Japanese government has many times discussed the legalization of the activity in order to develop tourism and increase the revenue.

A lot of countries have been trying to create new attractive features to attract foreign travelers. Gambling and tourism in combination would become one of the biggest services which can attract the highest number of participants in the world.

However, despite the foreseeable economic benefits, the governments have been bearing the hard pressure from the public. Experts have warned that casinos have been arising and legalized in many developing countries.

Though the casino industry can create many jobs, but gambling cannot generate products or help improve the labor skill. Meanwhile, it may lead to the boom of individual bankruptcy and create social evils.

As for poor countries, legal gambling could be an effective method to become rich. However, in the countries with loosened laws and the corruption, the incomes to be created from casinos may not go to the state budget, but would be distributed among casino owners.

It seems that only the countries with strict law enforcement like Singapore can easily get adapted to the regulations on casino regulation. However, Grace Fu, a minister of the country, also said that though recognizing the recognition of casino business to the Singaporean economy, he still feels worried about the possible social impacts of the casinos.

SOS, a non-government organization in Singapore, has expressed its worry about the gambling business and the lending at exorbitant high interest rates. The worries have been raised after casino became one of the most profitable industries in the country.

According to Scottish Royal Bank, the profits to be gained from casino of Singapore may reach 6.4 billion dollars, higher than the forecast profit of Las Vegas at 6.2 billion dollars.

It may take other countries tens of years to drive the operation of casinos on the right track. However, who will take responsibility for the social evils to arise during that tens of years?

Source: Doanh nhan Saigon