Opening of Sheraton hotel casino in Ha Long Bay delayed

The Taiwan-backed operator of Vietnam’s biggest casino, Royal International Corp (RIC), said Monday that its first Sheraton hotel casino would be delayed several months because of design changes.

„We aim to complete interior work by the end of this year and open the hotel to guests early next year,“ said Tran Trong Nghia, head of the company’s equity department.

RIC had said in August that the 200-room hotel, the first five-star accommodation in UNESCO-recognized Ha Long Bay in northeastern Vietnam, would open this month. Casinos are only allowed to cater to foreign tourists as gambling is banned for Vietnamese.

Nghia said the hotel operator, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. – owner of the Sheraton brand – had asked RIC to change the interior designs to meet its worldwide standards.

Nghia declined to comment on whether RIC would change its earnings forecasts due to the delay.

RIC had said it expected the hotel would boost revenues above the original forecast this year.

Taiwanese investors own 63 percent of RIC and it is the only casino operator listed on Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange.