Gaming insights Gaming

McCamley pleased but concerned by Vietnam gaming trial

Written by Raquel Dias

Shaun McCamley – former President of The Grand Ho Tram Strip in Vietnam – has applauded suggestions the government will implement a trial period allowing some Vietnamese nationals into the country’s casinos.

But he has questioned the likely locations of the trial, with properties in Van Don and Phu Quoc in line ahead of the world class Ho Tram, according to a recent article by government advisor Professor Augustine Ha Ton Vinh.

“I do see this latest update as a step in the right direction and a very positive move for Vietnam and its ability to raise additional revenues,” says McCamley, now with consulting firm Global Market Advisors.  However, “the two locations Van Don and Phu Quoc mentioned in Professor Augustine’s article will, from an operational and revenue creation viewpoint, face significant challenges.”

Those challenges include their lack of infrastructure and their remote locations, with Phu Quoc a 40-minute flight from Ho Chi Minh City. The fact that very few locals will meet the strict terms of entry also means there will be no walk-in traffic, potentially rendering the trial ineffective – particularly in the rainy season.

“The Island basically shuts down during the rainy season, flights often cannot land during bad weather and are forced to turn back to Saigon,” McCamley says.


While the more obvious choice would be Ho Tram, McCamley says its likely exclusion highlights the difficulty foreign companies face when trying to do business in Vietnam.

“It is complex and fraught with difficulties,” he explains. “When investors look to develop a gaming business, particularly in Vietnam where there is no proper detailed legislation covering table gaming, the whole process becomes even more difficult to manage.”

Management choices might be another reason for the casino to be left out.

“The government may feel that Ho Tram has not delivered on its investment promises,” McCamley continues, adding that the resort has recently “entered into some sort of lease arrangement that sees a significant number of the property’s gaming tables given over to a Chinese online casino operator.”

That was likely frowned upon due to the local government’s “total mistrust on anything associated with online gaming moves”.

As for the future of the industry in the country, McCamley is cautiously optimistic. If confirmed, he says the trial is finally a step forward for an industry that has been “marking time” and a much better option than, “having their citizens heading over the border into Cambodia to gamble.

“Although the initial locations identified likely will not have any impact, at the very least it’s a start and one the industry has been waiting to see.”