Vietnam prepares to allow airport gambling

Las Vegas-style slot machines are increasingly common in airports. Source: Wikimedia 

Vietnam is considering whether to install gambling machines in its international airport terminals to attract travellers.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on Friday agreed in principle to equip the international airports with the gambling machines in attempt to “improve services”, Tuoi Tre News reported.

The issue is now with the finance ministry which will attempt to win over the rest of the cabinet and push for legislation.

Gambling machines are fitted in many other countries’ airports. Last week, the Pennsylvania House Gaming Oversight Committee approved legislation that would authorise slots at the state’s six international airports.

The state-owned Airports Corporation of Vietnam will be responsible for the project if it gets legislative approval.

Revenue from casinos in 2014 reached VND1.38 trillion (US$60.7 million), of which VND336 billion (US$14.78 million) was paid as tax to the national budget.

The plan is for the machines only to be located in areas designated for foreigners and Vietnamese passengers on international flights.

Vietnam has eight international airports and the two main gateways are Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City and Noi Ban for Hanoi.

Domestic companies would be responsible for installing and maintaining the machines.

Vietnamese citizens are forbidden access to the country’s eight small casinos and 43 slots parlours, although the government is reportedly trying to relax those rules.

Domestic media has reported that Vietnamese citizens travelling overseas might be allowed to use the slot parlours, while other reports suggest the existing ban would be unaffected by the airport scheme.

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