by Paul Dan
Goooood morning, Vietnam! A world-known hello, from the war years. But the military uniform and boots era has passed, and now we are seeking relaxation, entertainment, and adrenaline. And where else would we find it, if not at The Grand Ho Tram Strip, only a two hour car ride away from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam’s largest city, known for a long time as Saigon! Large and imposing, daring and extravagant, The Grand Resort and Casino marks the start of the transformation of the calm Ho Tram coast in what is wished to become Vietnam’s answer to Macao and Las Vegas.
Beyond the noise of the metropolis holding 9 million inhabitants and other millions of loud scooters, in a calm and green oasis, two steps away from the beach, we find an exclusive resort, The Grand Ho Tram Strip, a favorite destination for gamblers. And not only for them! Built in the Vegas style, The Grand Ho Tram Strip offers a multitude of game opportunities, one more attractive than the next, where you can try your luck. Just so you can have the general idea – over 500 slot machines are at your disposal all the time, and for those preferring emotion, there are 90 gambling tables open 24 hours for Baccarat, Roulette, Sic Bo, Blackjack, Progressive Stud Poker, Hold’Em Poker. With facilities like these, everybody knows it’s the best and best equipped casino in Vietnam.
And to make ourselves understood – while you’re at a table, an army of employees make sure that you lack nothing! Any type of snack, any type of drink.
Discretion grows with the stakes
Premium clients, looking for a discrete place, have The Pearl Room, where you can bet on significant amounts, in private or semi-private rooms. Here, you can have a meal, try the finest liquors, while, for those accompanying you, there is a relaxation room.
The VIP clients benefit from special treatment. For them, the VIP Casino was created, a saloon of utmost discretion, where stakes are high and games private! Gambler in this category have a private check-in area and a special place to eat, the first premium restaurant of the network, The Gold Standard.
According to the casino’s official site, members are rewarded and can enjoy a vast variety of offers and promotions. The gaming experience is completed by the awards prepared for those either playing at the slot machines, either taking a seat at the casino tables: from invitation to various events held within the resort, to gifts. The more people gamble, the bigger the reward and the gathered points can transform the membership card in a gold or even platinum one, which offers access to other benefits, such as free accommodations, additional meals and drinks or even the possibility to participate in competitions and promotions.
Pampering at its highest
Because nights are long and exhausting for gamblers, the hotel offers a true arsenal of pampering. There are indoor and outdoor pools, spa and massage for those considering that it is not enough to forget time on the beach or swim in the clear waters of the South China Sea. They wouldn’t be bothered by anyone anyway, as the beach, over a surface of two kilometers, is private.
The pretentious and the deleterious have the possibility to prove their talents and skill at golf. And we’re not talking of just any golf field, but of one which has the signature of the legendary practitioner of this noble and elegant sport, Greg Norman. And speaking of talent, all of the resort’s guests can prove their singing abilities in the specially organized karaoke halls. The lovers of the seventh art haven’t been forgotten either. They can unwind in the 3D cinema halls.
Another resort attraction is the hotel’s musical fountain created in a Las Vegas style. The water, light and color show takes place daily between 18:00 and 21:00. The water, pumped at high pressure through the 120 jets can reach even 25 meters in height, while the background is ensured by LED projections covering the entire color spectrum. The audio background is ensured by live shows by local musicians, the star of the show being pop-star Son Tung M-TP and the Vietnamese idol Phuong Vy. The concerts are always held at the opening of the weekend sessions.
And to complete the scenery, we have to mention that the resort’s guests have micro-buses and buses at their disposal from and to the airport in Ho Chi Minh. The VIP clients are brought by helicopter!
Build and they will come – is not just a line from the “Field of Dreams” movie, but also the idea which the Ho Tram Strip chain followed. Successful in Macao, the development strategy is simple: the more gambling tables and hotel rooms, the more clients there will be. The main target – the neighboring sea China, with a population of over 1.3 billion inhabitants, with many possible players.
The Grand Ho Tram Strip could have the name of the MGM Resorts International, except for the fact that Americans have retired from the resort’s management. This did not end the project. Currently, the resort has 541 hotel rooms, and, by building the second tower, the accommodations space shall double. 4 billion dollars is the total value of investments made in the two casinos for which permits where issued.
The gambling market in Vietnam today
Gambling was made illegal by the communist regime, as it was considered an unacceptable capitalist concern. However, starting with 1990, restrictions became more lax, and now authorities have opened the investment market in field for large corporations. Besides the live casinos, in Vietnam, electronic gaming halls, horse race betting organized by the state in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, dog racing in Vung Tau and the Vietnamese lottery (state monopoly) are also legal. On-line gambling is practically illegal, but the internet network is censored. However, sports betting, especially on football games, are the most common.
After years in which they were forced to play beyond borders, only in January 2017 did the government allow the Vietnamese people to play in their own casinos. Until then, only foreigners were allowed to do so. Currently, there have been 7 casino operation licenses and 23 gaming hall operation licenses issued. According to specialized sites, the most sought after casinos and gaming halls in Vietnam’s capital are Chat Slots Gaming Center, Palazzo Club, Monte Carlo Saigon Club, Club Royale and The Grand Ho Tram Strip Casino.