Royal Caribbean Wants Vietnam Casino Ban Lifted

Royal Caribbean Vice President John Tercek recently asked Vietnam's Tourism Minister Hoang Tuan Anh to ask the prime minister to end a 20-year ban on allowing casinos on foreign cruise ships to remain open in Vietnamese ports. Tercek said the ban is not actually a law.

Twenty years ago, Vietnamese customs officers requested that foreign cruise ships entering Vietnamese territory temporarily close their onboard casinos and duty-free shops in order to prevent smuggling. That ban is still in effect. However, according to John Tercek, vice president of Royal Caribbean Cruises, “The ban was not mentioned in the Tourism Law and Maritime Law. There is a regulation set by the Ministry of Finance on the operation of ashore casinos. However, the regulation does not mention the on-cruise casinos. I asked relevant ministries and state management agencies, but none of them can show the legal document on the issue. They only said the ban has been applied for many years.”

Now Tercek has asked Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh and officials from the Thua Thien-Hue People’s Committee to allow casinos and shops to remain open Royal Caribbean ships when they dock at Vietnamese ports. Tercek said Royal Caribbean wants to expand its Vietnamese business from 2,000 to 3,000-passenger ships to 5,000-passenger vessels that dock at Chan May Port in Thua Thien–Hue province.

Tercek noted when the ships dock, many travelers prefer to remain onboard and require entertainment services. He added other cruise companies are planning to expand their ships to appeal to younger cruise travelers.

Tuan Anh said he has asked relevant agencies to cooperate with Thua Thien–Hue provincial authorities to provide the documents needed for the prime minister’s approval.