September 14, 2022 3 min read


Cambodia to Crack Down on Illegal Casinos and Fraud

Many Westerners see Cambodia as an embodiment of fraud, illegal gambling and human trafficking. Fortunately, the country’s government is already taking action in hopes of curbing organized crime and restoring Cambodia’s image.

Cambodia’s Image Has Been Tarnished by Crime

Ros Phearun, secretary general of the Cambodian Gambling Regulatory Committee is one of the main activists when it comes to fighting the black market. As an influential politician, he is well-positioned to urge others to action and make a change. Just now, Khmer Times reported, Phearun appealed to the country’s regional governments and asked them to crack down on unlicensed venues.

However, the current efforts of regional law enforcers seem to be lacking. Because of that, unlicensed gambling is booming in Cambodia. According to Phearun, only 60 casinos are allowed to operate in the country but in reality, there are over 140. The Cambodian government has confirmed the existence of around 80 such properties but fears there might be many more.  

Worst of all, illegal venues are also involved in other fraud, including money laundering and human trafficking. Some such cases have caused international concerns over the state of Cambodia. The country has been listed on a human trafficking blacklist which, in turn, has dramatically impacted tourism.

Fighting the Black Market Is Going to Be an Uphill Battle

A major problem is that not all law enforcers are able to spot illegal venues. Phearun will, therefore, work on new guidelines that help enforcers discern licensed venues from their unlicensed counterparts.

However, the difficulties when it comes to distinguishing illegal properties aren’t the only problem. The worse problem is that many people within the law enforcement are allegedly corrupt and are taking bribes from criminal organizations that run illicit casinos. Therefore, spotting and eliminating unlicensed venues is going to be an uphill battle. The battle for the digital space would be even harder as unlicensed gambling websites are much more ubiquitous and harder to weed out.

Still, Phearun and his associates remain optimistic as some serious effort is being put in. For example, a recent police operation saw 11 people in Phnom Penh arrested for running illegal gambling operations. In addition, Phearun and his team has the full support of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society which is hellbent on destroying all unlicensed gambling within the digital space.

In other news, Cambodia recently renewed 70 gaming licenses. The country realizes that one of the ways to combat illegal gambling is to create a flourishing legal industry that attracts the players.


Yasmin is an iGaming and gaming journalist with over 10 years of writing about various publications. Her experience spans the entirety of iGaming, traditional sports, as well as online poker. She is well-versed in every aspect of online gaming and her wealth of knowledge provides additional substance to our coverage.

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