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Casinos rake in $2 billion

Cambodia's casino industry generates close to $2 billion in revenue a year and accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the Kingdom’s tourism revenue, a central bank official said yesterday.

Chea Serey, director-general of the National Bank of Cambodia, told a workshop on statistics in international trade in services that Cambodia’s proportion of casino revenue to total tourism receipts followed only that of Macau and Monaco.

“I’m not talking about the absolute amount, but the relative proportions of casino income to total travel revenues,” she said.

Serey added that the revenue figure took into consideration not only income generated at gambling tables, but also other ancillary sectors across the tourism spectrum.

“We mean tourists who come to casinos and spend money [at casinos], hotels, restaurants and buying goods in the market,” she said.

Cambodian law prohibits its nationals from gambling in its casinos, Serey noted, adding that most gamblers entering the Kingdom were from Vietnam, Thailand and China.

Ho Vandy, an adviser to the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, expressed surprise upon hearing the figure for the gaming sector’s contribution to tourism revenue.

“I don’t know which institution provided that number, but if it’s 40 per cent, that’s a very big number,” he said.

He said in calculating a figure, the casino industry’s service chains must be factored in.

This includes air transportation, accommodation, domestic transport, food and restaurants, tourist site ticket sales, souvenir purchases and tour guide services.

“All these services are in one package,” he said.

Cambodia has about 60 casinos, mostly located along its borders. Tax receipts from the gaming industry topped $25 million last year, according to government numbers.
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