Vietnamese legislators want to open casinos for locals

By Anh Vu, Thanh Nien News

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Vietnamese gamblers at a casino in Cambodia. Photo: Hoai Nam
A contingent of lawmakers have proposed including provisions that would open casinos to Vietnamese gamblers in a draft decree presented Thursday.
Others recommended addressing the issue at a later date.
Nguyen Van Hien, chairman of the legal committee under the National Assembly – Vietnam’s parliament – said that many Vietnamese presently gamble at casinos in Cambodia, Hong Kong and Singapore.
“The decree should stipulate that locals be allowed at casinos instead of delaying the issue,” he said.
Only foreigners and Vietnamese nationals who hold a foreign passport (dual-nationality) are currently allowed to enter casinos in Vietnam.
In August 2013, the Communist Party's decision-making Politburo allowed Vietnamese meeting certain criteria to gamble at a casino to be built in the Van Don Economic Zone in Quang Ninh Province bordering China.
The National Assembly deputy chairman Uong Chu Luu said Thursday that this is unreasonable because the government cannot ban locals from casinos abroad.
Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, another deputy speaker, also agreed with Luu, saying relevant authorities have been unable to manage locals gambling abroad, creating harmful consequences.
Tong Thi Phong, also a deputy speaker, said the draft decree will be the highest legal document pertaining to the casino business and it is important to make sure it does not controvert standing legal precedents.
“In 2007, the Politburo considered allowing locals to enter casinos in Vietnam,” she said.
“I think allowing locals to enter casinos would allow for effective management. As such, I believe criteria should be established to allow locals to enter casinos.”
In the opposite corner, vice speaker Huynh Ngoc Son said the draft decree must stipulate requirements for casinos to comply with Vietnamese traditions and culture.
“I have entered casinos in some countries, which feature places for pole dancing and for [gamblers] to reverse bad luck,” he said

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