THE Kingdom's sole bookmaker, Cambo Six, closed all its outlets on Wednesday in accordance with an order issued Tuesday by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Finance Minister Keat Chhon told the Post early Wednesday that the betting chain, which has 20 outlets across the country, had been given a week to close. But in Phnom Penh, Battambang, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap, Cambo Six branches were forced to end all gambling, the company said, and could only remain open to pay winnings on previously placed bets.
"The police are forcing us to close, but we have to pay our customers," said Nancy Chau, the manager of Cambo Six's head office in Phnom Penh.
Keat Chhon said the government would sign a licence termination agreement with the company on Wednesday afternoon stipulating that the company would not receive any compensation. Its current operating licence had been due to expire in 2011.
"We are not slowing the closure process with this football betting company because we are working with them even at nighttime," Keat Chhon said.
On Tuesday, Hun Sen abruptly ordered the closure of Cambo Six at a Phnom Penh graduation ceremony.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STEVE FINCH