The government of Vietnam is reportedly considering whether to extend a pilot program that allows locals to gamble within a narrow selection of the nation’s casinos by another two years.

According to a report from Asia Gaming Brief, the original policy was premiered at the beginning of last year and allows local adults who can prove that they earn at least $430 a month to wager alongside foreign tourists at the Corona Resort and Casino on the southern island of Phu Quoc. The source detailed that this trial also obliges Vietnamese gambling aficionados to have a clean criminal record as well as no familial objections and pay about $43 for a day casino pass or roughly $1,000 for a month-long permit.

Delay dilemma:

Vietnam is home to approximately 68 million adults and the original three-year pilot was to have moreover encompassed the $1.8 billion integrated casino resort Sun Group is building on Quang Ninh Province’s Van Don archipelago. However, construction of this 6,177-acre development complete with its large casino, golf course and multiple hotels, villas, apartments and retail spaces has been hampered by numerous delays and is now purportedly not expected to be complete before the beginning of 2025.

Polite petition:

This hold-up as well as the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic have now reportedly prompted Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance to disclose that it needs more time to effectively evaluate the success of the pilot. As such and the government department has now purportedly submitted an official application to the office of newly-elected Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh seeking permission to extend the casino program to the end of 2024.

Pessimistic prospects:

Local publication Bao Phap Luat reportedly disclosed that any such request will now need to be approved by the 62-year-old Prime Minister in addition to the 18 members of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee Communist Party of Vietnam, which is led by the Asian nation’s former President, Nguyen Phu Trong. Although none of these figures have yet given any indication as to their disposition towards this application, Saponti Baroowa from the Ho Chi Minh City office of professional services firm Dezan Shira and Associates purportedly expressed pessimism at its likely success.

Baroowa reportedly told Asia Gaming Brief…

“The government’s main concern would be to not expose the local population to potential social risks from gambling and so I do not think there will be a significant shift in government policy in the near term. There is this pilot program but that gives us the view that it’s something the government is experimenting with and I think it’s highly unlikely to be opened up to domestic big spenders any time soon.”