US-based casino operator and hospitality business Hard Rock International Inc. has confirmed its interest in developing a casino at Laguna Lang Co integrated resort complex in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, according to newswire GGRAsia.
Daniel Cheng, Hard Rock’s senior vice president for casino business development in Asia, told GGRAsia that Hard Rock has finished all site studies and completed all project financing. All the company is waiting for is the Vietnamese government to issue the casino license after which Hard Rock can put the spade to the ground immediately.
Earlier in July 2014, Singaporean resort developer Banyan Tree Holdings sought the provincial leaders’ approval to build a casino in the complex, claiming the step would play an important role in the development of Laguna Lang Co Resort, the company’s first project in Vietnam.
However, provincial leaders answered that the Ministry of Finance (MoF) was in the middle of drafting the nation’s first legal framework for casino businesses, bidding the developer to wait until the National Assembly ratified the decree.
On March 14, 2016 during the joint work session of the Thua Thien-Hue People’s Committee and MoF, Thua Thien-Hue laid out the plans for Laguna Lang Co Resort’s casino to Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung. Dung said he supported Banyan Tree Holdings’ casino proposal because he believed it would benefit both the province and the developer.
Starting operations in March 2013, the $900-million Laguna Lang Co Resort is located near Lang Co Bay, framed by a three-kilometre beach in Chan May region. This development includes Banyan Tree and Angsana hotels and spas, an 18-hole championship golf course designed by Nick Faldo, private villas and residences available for sale, convention facilities, and a plethora of recreational activities for guests of all ages.
In June 2015, Thua Thien-Hue proposed that the prime minister add the province’s Chan May-Lang Co Economic Zone to the list of areas allowed to have casinos in the country.
It said Chan May-Lang Co was one of the country’s key coastal economic zones, having numerous advantages to become an international centre for trade, residential areas, and resorts. Therefore, adding the casino business to the manifold advantages of Chan May-Lang Co would further contribute to its development into a tourism centre.
In January, the government issued Decree No.03/2017/ND-CP on casino business, which took effect in March this year. Accordingly, eligible investors wishing to invest and operate in services, tourism, and entertainment businesses with casinos must invest a minimum capital of $2 billion and submit plans to manage the negative impacts of casino operations.
Such enterprises can provide a casino in only one location and this must be separate from other business areas of entertainment.
According to MoF statistics, Vietnam has licensed eight casinos so far, all of which open to international punters and foreign passport-holders exclusively. They include operating casinos in Haiphong city, and Quang Ninh and Lao Cai provinces in the north, Danang city in the central region, and Ba Ria-Vung Tau province in the south.