Officials say they hope development will lead to more projects
ANEW US$2 million casino opened on Thursday in a special economic zone (SEZ) which lies on the border between Cambodia and Vietnam.
Top Diamond, a 1,600-square-metre casino, is the first of three gambling outlets expected to be built in the Phnom Den SEZ, developers said Thursday. It has been constructed about 1km from the international border with Vietnam.
The 200-employee casino was built on land leased by Cambodian developers Doung Chhiv Investment on National Road 2.
Managing director Hout Chanthou said: “This location has great potential. I hope that businessmen will stop by here to gamble.
“This is the first casino here. If it is successful, we will be opening two more casinos. I also have plans to build a new US$4.5 million three-star hotel in the next year.”
Deputy of National Police Commissioner, Sok Phal, said Thursday that there are now 32 licensed casinos in Cambodia.
“We hope that one will be set up on the Cambodia-Laos border in the near future soon,” he said, citing numerous casinos already built along the Kingdom’s borders with Thailand and Vietnam. “Casinos can create jobs for Cambodian people in those areas.”
Investors hope to expand on the casino market as part of the development of SEZs. Cambodia currently has 19 licensed areas, but only six are in operation.
Construction in the Phnom Den SEZ, which was created in 2006, is due to finish in 2015.
Duong Tech, general manager of Duong Chhiv Group, told the Post on Thursday that the company has completed about 15 percent of its development plans for the area. Its progress has slowed as a result of the world economic crisis.
“So far we have built a warehouse, a casino and 42 apartment units. Our plan for the SEZ is to build three casinos on the land,” he said.
Tek Tong Lim, governor of Kirivong district in Takeo province, told the Post that development has aided the local economy.
“We are happy to have a SEZ. It will also bring more jobs to many people in the district,” he said. “Local people will be better off, as the zone will create infrastructure in the area, which will support many factories to buy people’s agriculture products.”
Sok Samnang, chief of police at the Phnom Den International checkpoint, said that the number of tourists who entered Cambodia through the crossing remained stable despite the world financial crisis.
“There are about 80 to 100 tourists who go across the border every day. This number is the same as last year. We hope that it will increase in the next year because of the new casino operation,” he said.
“Cambodian and Vietnamese people have a good trade relationship here. But we only trade fruit and vegetables.”