Cambodia boosts its $2-billion casino industry

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A casino in the western Cambodian province of Pailin, targeting mainly  Thai gamblers

The Cambodian government granted licenses for 10 new casinos in the third quarter of this year, raising their number to 75, according to Ros Phearun, a deputy director general of the financial industry department at the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

The majority of the 10 new casinos are to be opened in the coastal resort of Sihanoukville, where there haven’t been any casinos yet, Khmer Times reported. Most of the new entrants to the gambling industry were interested in online gambling. The government, however, requires online betting to take place within a casino.

Most of the new casinos are owned by Chinese investors, Phearun said. They are not only increasing the flow of foreign investment in the coastal province but are also spurring the economy and creating jobs, he argued.

However, critics complained that gambling had the potential to “create disorder in society” while profits flow out of the country and “money laundering is allowed to thrive.”

Cambodia’s current casinos are all in border areas, except one, NagaWorld, which is located in Phnom Penh. It is the largest casino in the country, owned by Hong Kong-listed Nagacorp, which has a monopoly on casinos within a 200 kilometer radius around Phnom Penh until 2035. Nagacorp has been founded in 1995 by Malaysian businessman Chen Lip Keong, who since has become a billionaire owing to surging Nagacorp shares.

Cambodia’s casino industry has generated a revenue of approximately $2 billion last year, according to Chea Serey, Director-General of the National Bank of Cambodia.

“Perhaps next to Macao and Monaco, Cambodia has the largest proportion of casino income to total international travel credits of any country in the world,” she said, adding that “income generated by casinos from non-residents represents about 40 per cent of total international travel credits.”

Statistics of the ministry show that Cambodia collected tax revenue of more than $25 million from the casino industry in 2014 and $28.8 million in revenue from the gambling industry in the first nine months of this year.

Cambodian law prohibits its nationals from gambling in its casinos. Most gamblers are from Vietnam, Thailand and China.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

A casino in the western Cambodian province of Pailin, targeting mainly  Thai gamblers

The Cambodian government granted licenses for 10 new casinos in the third quarter of this year, raising their number to 75, according to Ros Phearun, a deputy director general of the financial industry department at the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

SONY DSC
A casino in the western Cambodian province of Pailin, targeting mainly  Thai gamblers

The Cambodian government granted licenses for 10 new casinos in the third quarter of this year, raising their number to 75, according to Ros Phearun, a deputy director general of the financial industry department at the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

The majority of the 10 new casinos are to be opened in the coastal resort of Sihanoukville, where there haven’t been any casinos yet, Khmer Times reported. Most of the new entrants to the gambling industry were interested in online gambling. The government, however, requires online betting to take place within a casino.

Most of the new casinos are owned by Chinese investors, Phearun said. They are not only increasing the flow of foreign investment in the coastal province but are also spurring the economy and creating jobs, he argued.

However, critics complained that gambling had the potential to “create disorder in society” while profits flow out of the country and “money laundering is allowed to thrive.”

Cambodia’s current casinos are all in border areas, except one, NagaWorld, which is located in Phnom Penh. It is the largest casino in the country, owned by Hong Kong-listed Nagacorp, which has a monopoly on casinos within a 200 kilometer radius around Phnom Penh until 2035. Nagacorp has been founded in 1995 by Malaysian businessman Chen Lip Keong, who since has become a billionaire owing to surging Nagacorp shares.

Cambodia’s casino industry has generated a revenue of approximately $2 billion last year, according to Chea Serey, Director-General of the National Bank of Cambodia.

“Perhaps next to Macao and Monaco, Cambodia has the largest proportion of casino income to total international travel credits of any country in the world,” she said, adding that “income generated by casinos from non-residents represents about 40 per cent of total international travel credits.”

Statistics of the ministry show that Cambodia collected tax revenue of more than $25 million from the casino industry in 2014 and $28.8 million in revenue from the gambling industry in the first nine months of this year.

Cambodian law prohibits its nationals from gambling in its casinos. Most gamblers are from Vietnam, Thailand and China.

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