Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Gov’t to mull its ban on gaming

Gov’t to mull its ban on gaming

Gov’t to mull its ban on gaming

As neighbouring countries are increasingly looking to loosen gambling restrictions for their citizens, the Cambodian government said yesterday it is considering the possibility of someday following suit.

Pointing to Vietnam, where a draft law to legalise gambling is reportedly in the works, Ros Phirun, spokesman for the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s gaming and casino department, said yesterday that the government is investigating the potential impact of doing the same for Cambodian citizens.

“We have thought about Vietnam legalising it. Gambling nowadays is a worldwide industry, not just in one country or two. It is an international industry. So now we too have to internationalise the gambling industry. But in order to do that, we have to get the laws in Cambodia finished.”

In June, the Post reported that a new draft of Cambodia’s law on the gambling and casino industry was being drawn up and could be completed as early as the end of this year. The draft is expected to grant the Ministry of Economy and Finance stronger investigative powers as well as regulate the currently underground online gambling scene.

In Vietnam, meanwhile, the government is moving quickly towards regulations similar to those of Singapore and Macau in an effort to draw gambling tourists to the country and collect more tax revenue.

“Vietnam changing its laws will impact Cambodia for sure. As you can see since Singapore and other regional countries have done the same,” Phirun told the Post yesterday.

“This industry has been developing in Cambodia for a very long time, and in order for Cambodia to face the challenges ahead we must get the gambling law done – especially with regional integration, we have to be ready.”

Tok Kimsay, an adviser to the Royal Group-owned Titan King Casino in Bavet town, said the local gambling industry was becoming increasingly concerned about a future decline in players from Vietnam.

“Just at Bavet, there are between 500 to 1,000 Vietnamese gamblers coming to play here every day,” he said. “If their government allows the investors to invest in the casino industry, there will be the big trouble for us.”

Kimsay said he was not aware of any move to legalise gambling for Cambodian citizens.

Opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party spokesman Yim Sovann condemned the possibility of legalising gambling for Cambodian citizens yesterday, saying it would exacerbate the country’s poverty problems and only benefit the super rich.

“It has a lot of consequences such as suicide and increased poverty because only a handful of powerful people will receive the profits, while the rest of the nation will have nothing,” Sovann said, calling for public and expert consultation on the proposed draft gambling law.

“They should not legalise, but instead concentrate on the casino projects that earn a lot of money but provide less revenue to the state in tax.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING MAY KUNMAKARA

MOST VIEWED

  • Reports: Rainsy barred from Jakarta flight

    Sam Rainsy was on Wednesday refused entry to a flight from Malaysia to Indonesia, media reported late on Wednesday. The “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party’s announced return to the Kingdom on Independence Day on Saturday failed to occur. Rainsy

  • Government studying EU’s preliminary report on EBA

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Wednesday said the government was studying the EU Commission’s preliminary report on the human rights situation in the Kingdom that could lead to a suspension of access to its “Everything But Arms” (EBA) agreement. The

  • Phnom Penh International Airport wins award as passenger traffic soars

    The Phnom Penh International Airport has been awarded Best Asia Pacific Regional Airport 2019 for its sustained high growth in passenger traffic in recent years. The award was presented by the Capa Centre for Aviation (Capa) – a world-leading and trusted organisation that provides market intelligence to

  • Gov’t: Rainsy’s ‘coup plot’ a failure

    The government on Wednesday commended the Kingdom’s security forces for thwarting the attempted “coup plot” by former opposition leader Sam Rainsy through his announced return to Cambodia on November 9. The comments came as Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue

  • Tour guides question animal release ban in Angkor moat

    The Khmer Angkor Tour Guide Association (Katga) called on the Apsara National Authority to reconsider its decision banning all animals from being released into the moat surrounding the Angkor Wat temple after the authority prohibited the action for the sake of visitors’ safety. An Apsara

  • Chinese tourists lead international visitors

    Chinese tourists again topped the list of foreign visitors to Cambodia during the first nine months of this year, with the Ministry of Tourism on Wednesday reporting a 30 per cent increase on the same period last year. The Kingdom received 4.81 million international tourists in that