A Vietnamese company known as FLC Group Joint Stock Co has announced that it has received government approval to invest into a casino resort in Quang Ninh, a northern province in Vietnam.

Owned by billionaire Trinh Van Quyet, the company’s subsidiary FLC Faros Van Don is likely to invest up to $2 billion in the project according to the announcement. FLC Group manages real estate properties in Vietnam and also operates several hotels in the country. It is a publicly traded company, listed on the Hanoi Stock Exchange.

The group’s proposed project will be developed in the Van Don Special Economic Zone in Quang Ninh province, which comprises the islands of Van Canh and Ngoc Vung. The complex is expected to include a five-star hotel, a golf course and a convention centre apart from a gaming floor. The company said it was hoping to attract overseas tourists and – if possible – domestic gamblers.

FLC Group

Vietnam recently issued a revised gaming decree that allows locals to gamble in certain casinos with stringent restrictions. The new rules are being trialled for a period of three years. Under the rules, citizens above the age of 21 years and having a monthly income of minimum VND10 million (US$443) would be allowed to enter local casinos to gamble.

According to the decree, only those casinos that have seen a capital investment of over $2 billion across both gaming and non-gaming amenities would be permitted to allow Vietnamese on their premises. Earlier reports had said that two possible casinos would allow locals entry, one in the Van Don Special Economic Zone and another in Phu Quoc, a resort island in South Vietnam. Both of these casinos are said to be under construction.

Vietnam has long been seen as a lucrative market for gambling. With the easing of some restrictions governing the industry, international casino operators including Las Vegas Sands Corp have expressed interest in developing large scale projects in the country. George Tanasijevich, Las Vegas Sands’ managing director for global development recently reiterated that the company was keen to have a presence in the country.

Over the past few months, many large casino projects have been announced in Vietnam. One of them is rumoured to be located in Quang Nam Province and will see an investment of $4-billion from a group of foreign investors that includes Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Ltd and VinaCapital Group, an asset management firm in Vietnam.