Developers set sights on Vietnam gambling strip

So, finally Vietnam has decided to take the bold step of building an integrated resort, following the footstep of her neighbor Singapore. Bold, and risky, but good and encouraging move indeed. Once built and into operation, it will be a boost to the country’s GDP, like what the 2 resorts will do for the economy of Singapore starting from now. Hopefully Vietnam will not be too late, and the government will not be too restrictive on access to the casinos, or it will not help so much. From the design, it looks great. Really looking forward to it, while closely watching what the Singapore resorts will benefit Singapore. 😀

Associated Press 21 April 2010

A Canadian development group, backed by Philip Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners, has appointed an MGM Mirage executive to run the first Las Vegas-style casino in Vietnam, in the latest sign of gaming expansion in Asia. Vietnam has been targeted by developers looking to replicate the success of Macao, which attracted billions of dollars of investment from the casino industry. Vietnam has only issued one gaming licence and plans to make a resort casino the centrepiece of the $4.2bn Ho Tram strip resort complex on beachfront land 130 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City.

Asian Coast Development Limited of Canada won the licence and has appointed Lloyd Nathan, the president of MGM Mirage global gaming development, as chief executive. ACDL and MGM Mirage have struck a deal to name the new property the MGM Grand Ho Tram. “The Ho Tram project represents one of the most compelling investment opportunities in the integrated casino resort industry,” said Mr Falcone, chief executive of Harbinger, which is ACDL’s largest investor.

Mr Nathan has led MGM Mirage’s overseas efforts during a period of international expansion for the group and other gaming operators. “The Ho Tram Strip is set to become the pre-eminent gaming and leisure destination in south-east Asia,” he said, adding that Vietnam was developing a “positive regulatory framework and competitive tax structure”. Jean Chrétien, the former Canadian prime minister, and an adviser of ACDL, played a key role in putting the Vietnam project together, Mr Nathan said.

Like its rivals, MGM Mirage,has been keen to find new international markets to sustain its growth after the recession and the economic slowdown hit returns in its home US market. The group went into partnership with Pansy Ho, daughter of Chinese gaming tycoon Stanley Ho, when it invested in a Macao casino. Macao has grown rapidly and is now the world’s biggest single casino gaming market. But MGM Mirage recently pulled out of Atlantic City following a damaging report by the New Jersey Gaming Board, in which it was criticised for its links to Ms Ho. The gaming board claimed Ms Ho’s father had links to organised crime. MGM Mirage said it had “structured its business relationship with Pansy Ho to ensure the highest standards of operation and compliance with all applicable gaming laws”.

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