Place your bets: Hong Kong investor stakes $500 million to build racecourse in southern Vietnam

By Cuu Long   July 5, 2017 | 03:51 pm GMT+7

The company claims the track could earn $2.2 billion a year now that betting has been legalized in Vietnam.

A Hong Kong-based company has been given the all clear to conduct a feasibility study for a racecourse in Vietnam's southern city of Can Tho.

SIBC International Ltd. met with the city’s leaders on Wednesday to discuss plans to build an entertainment complex that would cover over 150 hectares (370 acres).

The project, which also includes a hotel, park and golf course, is expected to cost $500 million, it said.

Once completed, the track could host up to 16 races a day and earn VND50 trillion ($2.2 billion) a year, the company said, adding that it would contribute VND10 trillion in tax each year and create around 20,000 jobs.

Can Tho officials said the racecourse would help boost local tourism, but given its scale, the city would have to consult the central government before making a final decision.

The Mekong Delta's urban center attracted more than 5.3 million tourists in 2016, which was up 14 percent from a year ago and included 22,600 foreigners. Tourism earned the city more than VND1.8 trillion last year.

Vietnam legalized sports betting earlier this year, allowing its citizens to bet on international soccer games and horse and greyhound races from March 31. The historic decision, made after years of deliberation, has made racecourses a viable investment option.

The country currently has one greyhound track in the southern beach town of Vung Tau, and a $100 million horse-racing course was opened in the southern province of Binh Duong two months ago. Hanoi has plans to build a $500 million racecourse, but progress has been delayed.