A US$4-billion casino project near the historic town of Hoi An is set to move again as a US investor has jumped in to replace a withdrawing Malaysian company.
Vietnam’s leading asset management group VinaCapital said it has made the Iowa-based Pacific Peninsula Group, which provides design-through-construction services, its new partner for the project, news website VnEconomy reported.
Work at the South Hoi An casino had been delayed after Malaysia’s hospitality investor Genting backed out in September 2012.
The project was approved in 2010 to take up around 1,540 hectares (2.471 acres) of two districts in the central province of Quang Nam.
But the new joint venture has received approval to scale the area down to 1,000 hectares but increase the gambling tables by 20 to 90, and to include a golf course as well
The project is expected to also include 500 hotel rooms and is planned to open in 2015.
A statement from local economic management authorities said the US investor is running several similar projects at home and representatives from VinaCapital and the local government had recently paid a visit.
In August 2013, the Communist Party's decision-making Politburo allowed Vietnamese meeting certain criteria to gamble in a casino to be built in the Van Don Economic Zone in Quang Ninh Province bordering China. Vietnamese tycoon Dao Hong Tuyen and US firm ISC Corporation are investing in the US$7.5 billion project that includes a casino, marinas, a convention center and golf and tennis clubs.
Currently, Vietnam currently only opens casinos to foreigners or people with foreign visas.
The five-star casino-resort The Grand Ho Tram Strip, part of a $4.2-billion tourist development aimed at attracting foreign visitors, became the sixth casino in Vietnam when it opened last July in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, some four hours by car from Ho Chi Minh City.
Foreign investors seeking to operate a casino in Vietnam have to build a large-scale integrated resort including malls, restaurants, entertainment, and luxury hotels. They also need to invest at least US$4 billion and have 10 years' experience operating casinos.
Vietnam’s loosening gaming laws are music to the ears of casino developers.
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