Casino ban on locals not negotiable: Vietnamese official

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Vietnam is not encouraging investment in casinos and the ban on locals gambling is non-negotiable, a senior government official said Friday.

Some foreign investors are seeking a new policy that will allow locals to enter casinos, but that is not up for discussion, Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh was quoted by news website VnExpress as saying.

"There have been many questions (about the ban), but this is stated in the law. Only investors who accept it can be let in," he said.

Vinh said casinos can help attract more foreign tourists and boost economic growth, but they have to be managed well to make sure locals do not participate in gambling.

Chairman Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Sands, the operator of a casino in Singapore, has told local media that the company is interested in exploring opportunities in Vietnam. 

The northern province of Quang Ninh last month announced that it was seeking investment for a US$4 billion casino and resort complex.


Not worth the gamble

Vinh said the project proposal is being reviewed by several ministries and a final decision has not been made. However, he said many officials were in favor of the project.

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