Get Your Dong Out

Vietnam’s revolutionary founder Ho Chi Minh relied on lottery ticket sales to raise money for schools and hospitals during the war years. Now Hanoi’s Communist leaders are looking to casinos, horse betting and modern lottery-ticket machines to do the same.

So far this year, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has issued two decrees aimed at upping Vietnam’s game in the regional competition for gambling revenue while reducing the country’s growing budget deficit. A pilot plan to take effect in March will allow Vietnamese to gamble in the country’s casinos for the first time—currently only foreigners can. Another will allow bets nationwide on horse and dog races, as well as international soccer matches. This follows what officials call an “American-style” lottery started last year by the finance ministry in partnership with Malaysia’s Berjaya Corp.

Vietnamese going abroad to such gambling locales as Macau, Singapore—and just across the border in Cambodia—spend an estimated $800 million on gambling every year, according to Augustine Ha Ton Vinh, an adviser to the Van Don Special Economic Zone where a casino funded by local investor Sun Group is planned about 175 kilometers (110 miles) northeast of Hanoi.

Gaming industry investments will also boost the economy. An additional foreign investment of $3 billion into Vietnam’s casino businesses could increase gross domestic product by 0.58 percent in the first year, according the Institute for Regional Sustainable Development in Hanoi.

Cheerio

The Pinstripe and Bowler Club share information with MF Solutions Ltd.