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New casino set for Bavet

Proposed development to include flats, villas, hotels, malls and banks

CONSTRUCTION of a new US$4 million casino will begin next month on Cambodia’s border with Vietnam as investors bank on a growing gambling sector after the global financial crisis, officials said Monday.

Hong Kong-based Borey Samsoun Company plans to begin building a new gambling centre in Bavet town, Svay Rieng province, in July.

The Samsoun Casino and Resort will be located on 10 hectares of land, 1 kilometre from the Vietnamese border.

The proposed development includes flats, villas, hotels, shopping malls, banks and business centres and is expected to take three years to complete.

The firm intends to sell or rent the casino, marketed to the Chinese and Vietnamese, once it is complete.

“We will break ground for the casino in July after we finish a 172-unit housing project this month. Hopefully, the recovering economy will attract more clients to come,” said Chun Kheang, assistant to the Borey Samsoun's managing director.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance’s chief of Casino Management Chrun Theravath said Monday that although there have been signs of recovery in the sector, many firms are waiting for further signs of revival before beginning construction on planned developments.

“Some companies have already asked for licences but have yet to start operating,” he said.

Casinos in Cambodia’s border areas had seen profits slump in the wake of the financial downturn, he said, with one casino entering bankruptcy in Poipet and two more going under in Bavet.

He added there are 27 licenced casinos presently operating in Cambodia.

Two new casinos have already opened their doors in the Kingdom this year, with $100 million Titan King Resort and Casino beginning operation in Bavet City and the Top Diamond Casino launching in Kirivong district, Takeo province.

Last week, AFP reported that gambling industry experts believe Asia's gaming market is set to overtake the US.

Macau has already leapfrogged Las Vegas in gaming revenue and posts record-breaking growth, and Singapore and other Southeast Asian nations are building up their gambling sectors to cash in on its exploding popularity.

A recent survey of industry experts concluded that US casino revenue would be eclipsed by Asia in three to five years.

“The prospects for gaming in Asia are exciting, as there are many different roads growth and expansion could take,” stated Frank Fahrenkopf, head of the American Gaming Association, in a statement.

Macau’s gaming sales soared 95 percent year-on-year in May to 17 billion patacas ($2.1 billion), according to Hong Kong brokerage CLSA.

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