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Vietnam Continues to Bet Big on Horse Racing With Proposed Da Nang Track

Da Nang has announced plans for an entertainment complex containing a horse racing track with a US$1.72 billion price tag.

If the city's proposal is approved, construction would start this year and be completed by 2028. The pony facilities would be part of a 497-hectare compound that includes a 36-hole golf course, 2,000-room hotel and resort and ecotourism park. The horse track and stud farm would cost US$200 million alone. Located 27 kilometers south of the city's airport, the planners aim to capitalize on domestic and foreign tourism in the central coast city.

Horse racing thrived in Vietnam during colonial times, but World War II disrupted the industry and post-1975 gambling on the sport was banned. Since the late 1990s, authorities have explored the introduction of gambling, and casinos have long been legal for foreign citizens. A bill passed last year legalized sports betting for Vietnamese citizens, and legal frameworks have since been established, leading to renewed interest in constructing horse race tracks backed by foreign investors.  

The Da Nang track would follow several other expensive venues around the country including a proposed US$420 million facility in Hanoi, a US$100 million project in Phu Yen, and a US$500 million project being explored in Can Tho. Investors are also looking to establish similar facilities in Saigon, as well as Bac Ninh and Vinh Phuc provinces, according to VnExpress. A track in Binh Duong opened in 2017.

While potentially lucrative sources of tax revenue and jobs, experts caution against societal ills associated with gambling, as well as management missteps resulting from a lack of experience. 

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