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Shareholders support NagaCorp expansion

Wed, Aug 28, 8:06am by Staff Writer

Most of NagaCorp’s international minority shareholders have supported the company’s proposed expansion of its existing integrated resort in the capital of Cambodia.

Casino News Daily reports that earlier this year, the Hong Kong-listed hotel and casino operator introduced the Naga 3 development scheme that includes the addition of more hotel rooms and gaming space at the existing NagaWorld complex, located in Phnom Penh.

NagaCorp plans to invest $3.5 billion in the major project, and its founder and chief executive officer Tan Sri Dr Chen Lip Keong said earlier this year that he would cover half of that investment, excluding land acquisition costs.

During the company’s recent general meeting, 98 per cent of its minority shareholders voted to green light the project.

The company’s CEO and largest shareholder did not vote “for good governance purposes”, local news outlets reported.

The expansion scheme aims to place NagaCorp at the forefront of Southeast Asia’s growing casino gambling sector and to further cement Cambodia as a popular casino hub.

NagaCorp expansion announced in April

NagaCorp first unveiled its Naga 3 expansion project in April.

The company said in a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that the scheme involved the addition of four, 42-storey towers that would feature entertainment facilities, retail space, attractions, dining facilities, convention space, residences and hotels.

Naga 3 would add 4,720 new hotel rooms to the existing complex.

NagaCorp’s project is hoped to help the Cambodian capital meet the demand for quality hotel accommodation.

Phnom Penh is expected to reach a shortfall of 100,000 hotel rooms by 2025, according to projections provided by the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism.

Naga 3 will be three times the size of the original NagaWorld complex and its Naga 2 expansion combined.

The third phase of NagaCorp’s integrated resort is expected to create 18,000 permanent jobs when fully operational and more than 50,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction.

Naga 1 and 2 currently welcome 15,000 visitors per day or 880,000 per year.

It is believed that Naga 3 would increase visitation by 330 per cent to about 2.9 million visitors per year.

NagaCorp’s NagaWorld project with all its phases has popularly been referred to as the largest private sector investment so far in Cambodia.

Cambodian cracks down on online gambling

The latest news relating to NagaCorp’s expansion ambitions came shortly after the government of Cambodia announced its plans to crack down on online gambling.

The sector has been thriving in the country over the past several years with Chinese investors opening land-based casinos around Cambodia to obtain licences for the provision of online gaming and betting services.

While Cambodian nationals are prohibited to gamble online, the locally licenced online gambling operations have been able to target Chinese gamblers and create a profitable industry.

Cambodian lawmakers said earlier this month that the country would stop issuing online gambling licences, citing social order concerns.

Existing licensees will be allowed to keep operating until their licences from Cambodian authorities expire.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen signed a directive in August that aims to crack down on all online gambling operations conducted on the territory of the country.

China has been a close ally of Cambodia and its biggest investor.

It too has been trying to clamp down on remote gambling.

It recently criticized the Philippines for its booming offshore gambling industry.

Under the Philippine Offshore Gaming operators program, the country issues online gambling licenses to companies that are based in the Philippines but provide their services to customers based outside the country.

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