Shuttered since April 1, casinos in Cambodia are finally returning said the country’s prime minister Hun Sen through a spokesperson on Friday.
Casinos in Cambodia Return after a Three-Month Hiatus
Cambodia casinos will restart operations, the country’s Prime Minister, Hun Sen, confirmed on Friday. With operators now having an official green light by the government, estimated 200 casinos are expected to restart. The approval comes after the Ministry of Health has worked out the necessary safety measures to defer the spread of COVID-19 on the premises of the casinos.
Casinos had to shut down on April 1 with the novel coronavirus’ cases increasing rapidly. Yet, the peak is now deemed to have passed, giving the government and health officials some leeway in restarting operations.
According to health authorities, the incidence of COVID-19 infections in Southeast Asia has stabilized. Before they can launch, all operators planning to do so would have to make a petition to the Ministry of Health and familiarize themselves with the set of prevention measures that need to be observe before they can reopen.
The government has similarly cleared the country’s integrated resort, NagaWorld located in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital. The neighboring towns of Bavet and Poipet will also see a string of reopenings along with Sihanoukville, a known gambling hub in the country and region.
Casinos will only be allowed to operate slots according to an announcement made by spokesman on social media. According to Phay Siphan, the government is also looking into to draft a new gaming bill known as “Law on the Management of Integrated Resorts and Commercial Gambling,” which will lead to better regulation of the lucrative industry.
According to Cambodia Ministry of Economy and Finance’s Mey Vann, Cambodia should aim to preserve image for a popular tourist destination and attract further investment in the integrated resorts segment, allowing big overseas companies to entertain further plans of developing and launching mass-scale projects in the country.
The Philippines Back in Action
With the Philippines already allowed to restart operations, Cambodia will have an incentive to catch up. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) has given an official go ahead early in June, with properties beginning a phase reopening at 50% capacity.
However, further reopening efforts depend entirely on the national government, which will have to consult health authorities and deem whether a mass reopening is safe. Meanwhile, some Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) have continued operation, catering to illicit Chinese gamblers.
Overall, casinos in the Philippines posted a gross gaming revenue decline worth $916.2 million in the three months of the year.