The shut down of all casinos nationwide in Cambodia is ordered by prime minister Hun Sen due to the growing COVID-19 pandemic.
Nationwide Casinos Shutdown Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered a nationwide shut down of casinos due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the country. The order came on Monday, Mar 30 and will come into effect as of 11.59pm on April 1, 2020.
Hun Sen gave players some time to adapt and noted: “I would like to clarify to various gamblers that if you want to gamble, do it tonight. There is still tonight and tomorrow night“. Sen also said that those couple of days will be useful for the casino management in order to take action and clarify details with their employees. He expressed concern that “If we close the casinos right away, then casino employers will flee.”
The 2019 Online Gambling Ban
The order to shut down casinos is not the first hit on the gaming industry. Back in 2019, the Prime Minister banned online gaming.
The prohibition came into effect on January 1, 2020. This action was taken after the Prime Minister noted that Cambodia’s economy is depending on online gambling which poses a threat to national security.
Sen was concerned that without the ban, Cambodia would quickly fall under the influence of crime groups. Besides closing a fistful of casinos, the prohibition led to thousands of workers being laid off. Excessive of 7,000 Cambodian workers lost their jobs and some more 120,000 Chinese workers left Cambodia in the following weeks after Sen’s announcement, claimed Radio Free Asia.
Naga World to Close Due to the Virus Spreading in Cambodia
COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread and today there are four new cases reported in Cambodia. The total so far is 107 confirmed coronavirus patients of which 21 are considered to be recovered from the virus, as per data from the Ministry of Health. A 30-year-old male that worked in a casino and karaoke club in Banteay Meanchey Province is one of the four newly infected patients, reports Reuters News Agency.
The only casino in Phnom Penh, Naga World will also close as a result of the prime minister’s order. This action came following last week’s order of the prime minister to shut down restaurants and bars due to the pandemic.
Last year, NagaCorp, which is a parent company of NagaWorld, reported nearly $1.8 billion in revenue. In addition to closing businesses and casinos, visa restrictions were applied to foreign nationals.
These measures will be valid for at least one month. Last year, an estimate of 5,000 Chinese investors and tourists visited Cambodia on a daily basis. Playing at the casinos was the main reason to visit for many of those tourists.