Horse racing a non-starter in Viet Nam

Monday, Aug 29, 2016 10:23

Horse racing a non-starter in VN because of gambling restrictions. --
HCM CITY (Biz Hub) — In the last 10 years many foreign investors announced plans to build a horse racecourse in Viet Nam, but none of them succeeded because gambling is highly restricted in the country.

At a meeting with leaders of Vinh Phuc last week, South Korea's G.O Max said for the third time in nine years that it wanted to build a horse racing facility in the northern province.

In 2007 the company had wanted to build a 400ha racecourse at a cost of US$570 million, but came up against the betting problem.

In Viet Nam, locals cannot gamble except at dog racing, and even there only up to VND1 million ($45). Only foreigners are even allowed entry into casinos.

Three years later G.O Max told Vinh Phúc Province it would build the most modern racecourse in the world, but the gambling situation had not changed.

Another South Korean company, Global Consultant Network, signed a deal with the Ha Noi Tourism Corporation to build a complex with a hotel, mall, entertainment area, a golf course and a racecourse at a cost of $500 million.

It even got a licence for it in 1999 but, faced with the betting issue, did not go ahead.

Now several foreign investors have applied for licences to build racecourses in the central province of Phu Yêen, the southern province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau and central city of Da Nang.

"This kind of entertainment should be encouraged, but foreign investors cannot invest without a clear legal framework," Dr Prof Nguyan Mai told Dau tu (Viet Nam Investment Review) newspaper.

The Government is exhorting related authorities to complete and submit a draft decree on the betting business as well as casinos. Work on the decree began nearly 10 years ago.

The Ministry of Finance has said it will soon submit the decree, but will keep the betting capped at VND1 million.

The ministry has said it wants to keep betting under control but faces a lot of criticism.

Some say that with the low cap, no one will bet in the country but continue to bet outside Viet Nam, meaning the betting situation will not be controlled and foreign currency will continue to go out.

But others are furious, saying that with the low amount everyone in the country will be encouraged to bet.

Mai said since betting would be a business, authorities cannot issue licences to all and sundry and have to choose experienced operators. – VNS

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