- Cambodia continues to issue casino licenses at a quick pace
- A new legal gaming framework arriving soon
- Sihanoukville troubles with unlicensed operator continue
Cambodia is on a casino licensing spree, with 13 new properties added in Q1, 2019. Meanwhile, the Jinding property in Sihanoukville is still refusing to comply with the government’s demands to shut down the property.
Cambodia Awards 13 Casino Licenses in Q1, 2019
An unlikely gambling destination, Cambodia is pushing ahead with the development of its casino industry. So far, 13 casino licenses have been issued just in Q1, 2019.
This is nowhere near the overall 169 casino licenses that have been granted in total, Khmer Times, a newspaper revealed, citing sources in the Ministry of Finance.
Ros Phearun, a government official has confirmed the news, adding that 91 of the permits have been issued to properties in Preah Sihanouk, a province, which is revolving around Sihanoukville, one of the main gambling destinations in the country. MR Phearun had the following to add:
While a lot of licenses have been granted, only 51 casinos have begun operations. The majority of others are either under construction or have decided to stop operating – whether temporarily or at all.
Phearun also explained that the ongoing casino bonanza has been a major draw for Chinese customers who are now flocking to Cambodia in search of new gaming opportunities. He also added that Cambodia had been hopeful of claiming financial windfall to the tune of $70 million. These projects concern 2019 whereas 2018 brought the country $46 million.
Meanwhile, a new legal gaming framework is in the process of being prepared that would be enacted at the behest of the Council of Ministers. The bill is designed to help more international and big brands choose Cambodia as their new gaming home and scale their operations in the country.
No Love for Unlicensed Casinos
While Cambodia is happy to host Chinese players, it has taken a gunk-ho approach towards Sihanoukville’s unlicensed Chinese casino, the Jinding property, which has chosen to operate without a proper government permit. To add insult to injury, the Jinding casino has been pumping out untreated sewage water back into the sea, causing pollution.
Officials have urged the casino to close down as it has been taking a toll on the envrionment and tourism, but no answer has come since. In response to Jinding’s continuous illicit operations, the Cambodian government is now preparing to bulldoze the property. Here is what Sihanoukville City Hall spokesperson Khean Phyrum had to say:
We will forcefully demolish the casino and file a complaint to the court. The casino has operated without a license and there are no permits from local authorities. Those two reasons are enough.
Sihanoukville is a particularly important gaming hub in Southeast Asia (SEA) with Chinese investment continuing to trickle in and shape the island as a possible future Macau-like hub for the region. According to government officials, Jinding’s owner, Zhou Jianhua, has been warned about the damage and the need to shut down the casino, but he has refused to comply.