Vietnam has been eager to capitalize on the lucrative gambling industry and the government has encouraged foreign investors to set up mega-casino resorts in the country which cater exclusively to tourists as gambling is banned for locals. VinaCapital, a Vietnamese based company partnered with Malaysia’s Genting Berhad in 2012 to create a mega-casino resort that was estimated to be around $4 billion.
The Malaysian company who owned an 80% stake in the venture decided to drop out after a few months as the company was not certain if the Nam Hoi An casino resort could post consistent profits by depending on tourists only. Genting Berhad wanted the Vietnamese government to change its gambling laws and allow locals to gamble but since that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon, the company pulled out and VinaCapital was unable to proceed with the mega project.
VinaCapital has been on the lookout for a financially sound partner who was willing to invest into the Nam Hoi An casino resort and kick-start the stalled project. The company recently announced that it had finally found a partner in Hong Kong’s Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, which is owned by Hong Kong billionaire Cheng Yu Tung who deals with property and jewellery. Chow Tai Fook has already ventured into Vietnam with its New World Development unit and also has two well known hotels in the Renaissance Riverside and New World in Ho Chi Minh City.
Billionaire Sheldon Adelson and Chairman of Las Vegas Sands also expressed his interest in taking on a billion dollar casino project in Vietnam but took a similar stance to Genting Berhad as he wanted the government to allow locals to gamble before committing to investing in Vietnam’s casino industry.
Cheng Yu Tung who is the fourth richest man in Hong Kong did not have any such concerns and after strategic discussions with VinaCapital, Yu Tung was happy to partner with the VinaCapital and kick-start the stalled $4 billion project. If everything goes as per plan, phase one of the Nam Hoi An casino resort is expected to start in 2016. The first phase will include high end apartments and villas; an amusement park, resorts and a golf course.
The first phase of the project is expected to be around $500 million and will provide numerous employment opportunities to Vietnamese and bring in a lot of revenue for the local government.