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Casino business booming in Cambodia

Fri, Jan 4, 9:12am by Staff Writer

A host of new casinos sprung up in Cambodia in 2018 thanks to an influx of Chinese gamblers according to Casino News. The South-East Asian nation issues 52 casino licenses in 2018 to bring the total number of licenses in the country to 150, figures from the Phnom Penh Post show.

This is a 50 per cent increase from the number of overall licenses awarded by the end of 2017.

There is a demand for casino gambling in the Preah Sihanouk province thanks to increased number of Chinese travellers to the region.

The southwestern province is home to 88 casinos according to the Deputy Director of the General Department of Financial Industry Ros Phirun.

The Finance Ministry is yet to complete its annual revenue report so it remains unclear how much Cambodia’s gambling venues generates for the government in 2018.

Mr Phirun told local media that the government targeted $56 million as its revenue target.

Casino operators in Cambodia are obligated to pay an annual license fee of $40,000 to run their operations.

The Cambodian government is in the early stages of drafting its new gambling legislation that it hopes will further increase its gaming revenue.

Local citizens forbidden from gambling

As it stands Cambodian citizens are forbidden from gambling in the nation’s casinos.

There are benefits for locals to the casino trade according to Mr Phirun, with the venues being provided with food and other products by local residents.

With the Preah Sihanouk region booming with tourism, employment and land opportunities, the gaming and hospitality industries of the region have benefited.

The Executive Director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability San Chey told local media that the rising number of casinos presents multiple social risk factors.

Mr Chey said that law enforcement might not be able to deal with public order issues arising from an influx in tourists who may be under the influence of alcohol around the province.

He also voiced concerns that casinos could be used for money laundering and other illicit purposes, as well as be an avenue for social problems.

Despite being a prohibited activity, many Cambodians still lose money at casinos through either legal or illegal casino activity.

The largest casino in Cambodia is the Star Vegas International Resort and Casino located in Poipet.

It is home to 1,264 gaming machines and 109 table games. The most popular table game in Cambodia is baccarat with 70 tables, followed by roulette and blackjack with 7 tables.

The hotel features 385 rooms and suites as well as a salon, duty free shops, spa and two swimming pools.

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