Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun
People gamble at NagaWorld hotel and casino, in Phnom Penh, earlier this year.
State coffers are expected to see a 25 per cent year-on-year increase in tax revenues from casinos in 2011, according to Cambodia’s Ministry of Economy and Finance.
The Kingdom’s 27 casinos could contribute about US$20 million in taxes this year, up from $16 million in 2010, Mey Vann, the ministry’s director of the department of industry and finance, said yesterday.
“We’re focusing on developing the casino industry along our borders … and we will continue increasing casino tax revenue by 10 to 15 per cent per year,” Mey Vann said.
Revenues were generally unstable due to the industry’s reliance on foreign nationals who cross the borders, he added.
The biggest profits in casinos were made in Poipet, on Cambodia’s border with Thailand, and in Bavet on the Vietnamese border. Ministry figures obtained by the Post earlier this year showed continued increases in industry tax revenue. Revenues climbed 23 per cent between 2009 and 2010, according to the data.
Better tax collection practices and savvier investing accounted for previous increases, the ministry’s secretary of state, Chea Peng Cheang, said in January. Casino operators claimed improved management and a reduction in expenses, coupled with more border visitors, have produced higher returns.
“Right now we are seeing crowds of people in this border crossing area. Many are attracted by tourist [destinations]. We are seeing lots of Vietnamese tourists enter Cambodia as well as Cambodian tourists enter Vietnam,” said Nguyen Dang Thin, vice president of VIP services and government relations at Ha Hien Vegas Entertainment resort on Cambodia’s border with Vietnam.
“Normally we attract between 250 and 300 customers per day.” He declined to say how much money the casino paid the government in taxes.
Visitor numbers to Las Vegas Sun Hotel and Resort in Bavet have remained stable at about 70 to 80 per day, but Hong Chamroeun, the casino’s public affairs manager, said more are expected in the recent future.
“Although the economic situation is good, it’s not good enough to boost this sector into rapid growth. I think the Cambodian industry will see greater growth in two to three years,” he said.