Vietnamese casinos call for more local players

By William Brown Updated
Vietnamese casinos call for more local players

Casinos in Vietnam are calling on the government to allow locals to enter their establishments to make up for a loss of foreigner income due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Retail News Asia reports that a group of casino owners recently petitioned authorities that their facilities in major travel destinations such as Quang NAm and Ba Ria should be allowed to take advantage of domestic demand.

They said their revenues have plummeted due to the lack of foreign visitors and flight restrictions.

Only two casinos, one on the southern island of Phu Quoc and the other in Van Don in the northern province of Quang Ninh are allowed to admit locals.

The government has long treated gambling as a “social evil” and prohibited Vietnamese people from entering casinos.

In January 2019, it began a three-year trial to open certain casinos to locals, but the program does not specify the list of casinos and licenses are instead given on a case-by-case basis.

Vietnamese citizens who want to gamble in a casino must be over 21, earn a minimum of $430 a month and have no criminal record or objections from their family.

The entry fee is $43 for a day and $1000 for a month.

Vietnam has eight real money casinos, which entered total revenues of about A$140 million in 2019, according to Ministry of Finance data.

At Casino Corona in Phu Quoc, the first to allow local entry, Vietnamese gamblers accounted for 45 per cent of gamblers in 2019.

Donaco settles Star Vegas dispute

Australian casino operator Donaco International has confirmed the conclusion of its dispute with Cambodia’s Star Vegas Casino.

Yahoo Finance reported in January that the dispute, originally announced on March 3, 2020, has concluded.

The accounts for the six months ending December 31, 2020 will fully reflect the positive outcome in accordance with the terms of the settlement, the report said.

In addition, as detailed on December 18, 2020, the business has continued to improve to a positive EBITDA as impacts from coronavirus have moderated from earlier extreme levels.

The company’s debt has been reduced significantly and a solid platform for growth is now emerging, it said.

Donaco’s largest business, Poipet’s Star Vegas Casino and Resort, on the Thai-Cambodia border, was established in 1999 and is the largest and highest quality of the Poipet hotel casinos.

The property has more than 100 gaming tables, more than 1400 pokie machines and 385 hotel rooms.

Donaco’s flagship business is the Aristo International Hotel, a successful boutique casino in northern Vietnam, located on the border with Yunnan Province, China.

Established in 2002, the property has recently been expanded to a brand new five star resort complex with 400 hotel rooms.

Donaco owns a 95 per cent interest in the business, in a joint venture with the Vietnamese government.

Donaco settles case with Star Vegas casino

Australian-headquartered casino operator Donaco International has gained approval from a key lender to settle the casino firm’s legal cases with third parties, including its Cambodian casino venue.

GGR Asia reported in December that an outstanding debt of US$7.8 million payable to Mega Bank was a “notable reduction from the initially borrowed amount of US$100 million and the company is on track to repay all the remaining debt in financial year 2021,” Donaco said in a filing to the Australian Stock Exchange.

The approval by Mega Bank was in relation to the “successful settlement of all legal cases with the Thai-vendor” parties regarding Star Vegas and was “part of the provisions of a facility agreement with the lender,” Donaco noted.

“Donaco is extremely pleased to secure this approval as the company continues to work with Mega Bank and pay down the debt facility under the agreement,” it said.

The firm further noted that interest cover and debt ratio covenants were “not required to be tested” as of December 31 and would only be tested as of June 30, 2021, the end of the current financial year.

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