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Kampot casino planned

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A group of gamblers try their luck at cards on the gaming floor of a casino in Kampot province last September. Photo by: SOEUN SAY

ENTERTAINMENT Gaming Asia has announced it will open a casino in Kampot province, as officials say the province is becoming increasingly attractive for potential casinos.

Ministry of Economy and Finance chief of casino management Chrun Theravath said that border casinos located in Poipet near Thailand and Bavet near Vietnam had long proved profitable for the state.

With the economic crisis, Bavet’s casinos in particular have seen a decline in patronage, forcing some to close, he said.

Two casinos shuttered near the Bavet border crossing with Vietnam late last year, and Chrun Theravath said yesterday: “I hear that more casinos in Bavet will close due to bankruptcy, but I haven’t received an official letter yet.”

Locating a casino near the Prek Chak checkpoint in Kampot province was becoming increasingly popular, as more and more tourists used the route to enter and exit the Kingdom.

“They [casinos] are opening and looking to do business in Kampot. There are already a few casinos there, and the value of land is still cheap,” he said.

Kampot’s first casino – the nine-storey Ha Tien Vegas Entertainment Resort – opened in September 2010.

Entertainment Gaming will open its Kampot casino under its “Dreamworld” brand, according to a press release.

The firm – which owns and operates gaming machines in Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld licensed casino – expects to open the Kampot casino in the fourth quarter 2011, “subject to the timely issuance of the required gaming license,” it said.

The Kampot casino project is initially expected to cost less than US$1 million, as its owners plan to use gaming machines from its existing inventory. Entertainment Gaming will be 67 percent owner of the project, with the remainder held by an unnamed Cambodian partner.

“We are making solid progress in implementing our new growth strategy with the goal of becoming the leading owner and operator of regional casinos in select emerging gaming markets in Asia,” said its Chairman Clarence Chung in the release on Wednesday.

There are currently 27 licensed casinos in operation in Cambodia, according to Chrun Theravath.

Ministry of Economy and Finance figures show it collected $16 million in taxes from casinos during 2010, from $13 million the year previous.

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