After last week entering into negotiations to offload its Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem property in Pennsylvania, Las Vegas Sands Corporation has now reportedly announced that it remains interested in developing a new integrated casino resort for Vietnam.
According to a report from the Vietnam Economic Times newspaper, Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which runs large-scale gambling properties around the world including in Macau, Singapore and Las Vegas, revealed that it has been in discussions with the Vietnamese government “for many years” and remains hopeful of bringing a casino to the nation’s two largest cities of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
“Our desire to invest and develop an integrated [casino] resort in Ho Chi Minh City and/or Hanoi remains unchanged,” George Tanasijevich, Global Development Managing Director for Las Vegas Sands Corporation and Chief Executive Officer and President for its Marina Bay Sands property, told the Vietnam Economic Times. “We view Vietnam as a market that has a huge upside for business and leisure tourism [and] we believe that our meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions-focused business model would be very successful if situated in the right location in Ho Chi Minh City and/or Hanoi.”
Regarding the Vietnamese government’s recent decision to allow locals to gamble at select casinos, Tanasijevich reportedly declared that the move was “an important step in the right direction” but that uncertainty remained due to the fact that the policy is being introduced only as a three-year pilot program.
“We will closely follow the program and assess our opportunities,” Tanasijevich told the newspaper. “If Vietnamese [citizens] are given access to the casino subject to certain restrictions and the project is subject to reasonable investment criteria, tax rates and casino regulation, we would be eager to proceed with the development of an integrated [casino] resort in the country.”
As to what any Las Vegas Sands Corporation development in Vietnam would entail, Tanasijevich reportedly explained that the firm would hope to site the multi-billion-dollar venue in a central urban location in order to “maximize the success of such a model as well as fully capture the spill-over benefits on the project’s surrounding businesses” in terms of jobs creation, tourism, economic growth and tax revenues.
“Our world-class meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions facility would help to boost tourism and enhance Vietnam’s reputation as a place to do business,” Tanasijevich told the Vietnam Economic Times. “Las Vegas Sands Corporation would also work with local experts to develop cultural shows for the integrated [casino] resort that would appeal to tourists as well as educate them on Vietnam’s rich history [to ensure] that the integrated [casino] resort is a global platform for Vietnam’s culture.”
Finally, Tanasijevich reportedly stated that Las Vegas Sands Corporation would institute “measures that are designed to offer gaming as a form of entertainment” at any new development in Vietnam while moreover working closely with local authorities in order to “manage a set of social safeguards”.
“We have experience with social safeguards in Singapore that have proven effective at lowering levels of problem gambling within the community,” Tanasijevich told the Vietnam Economic Times. “Our Marina Bay Sands project in Singapore is a prime example of the success of the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions-focused integrated [casino] resort. It is our plan to develop a similar business model but with features and programming tailored for Vietnam if we are given the opportunity.”