After previous gaming crackdown, govt permits sport benefit
ONE year after the government crackdown on sports gambling forced the closure of firms, including CamboSix, Sport Social Affairs Co Ltd launched the Cambodia National Sports Lottery nationwide Sunday amid criticism from the opposition.
A joint venture with Singapore-based firm PSC Corporation Ltd, which invested US$5 million, and the National Sport Foundation (NSF), the new lottery is operating under an exclusive licence received from the Ministry of Economy and Finance on November 9.
“This is not a game for betting.... It is a different system – a lucky draw,” NSF Secretary General Vath Chamroeun said Friday.
Some of the revenue raised by the lottery will be used to develop sport in the Kingdom, said Sport Social Affairs President Ly Hout.
The lottery “will play a very important role in the development of our national sport, and improvement of social affairs,” he told the Post, without elaborating.
In February last year, the government closed all sports gaming – both licenced and unlicenced – in a crackdown following a snap order from Prime Minister Hun Sen aimed, he said at the time, at stemming the negative effects of gambling on society.
The opposition Friday criticised the decision to allow the lottery.
Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay said that he did not believe the government should grant a licence “because it violates rules”, whereas the government “said it would close down all kinds of gaming and lotteries”. He added that the venture was a type of corruption.
Mey Vann, director of the finance industry at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, said the lottery complies with ministry requirements in terms of capital and transparency.
The venture would give 20 percent of profits after tax to sports development, he added, which Vath Chamroeun said would partly be used for building an international stadium in preparation of future bids to host international sporting events in the Kingdom.
PSC Corporation will receive 29 percent of profits, the NSF will take 20 percent for sports development, and the remainder will go to Sport Social Affairs, according to the agreement, which also requires the Singaporean firm hold $500,000 in the central bank.
Mey Vann said the NSF would help add oversight to the venture.
The top prize in the new lottery will be $200,000, said Vath Chamroeun.