Malaysian-owned company VW Win Holdings Plc launched lottery operation Camloto in the Kingdom this week, making it the second to go live in as many months.
Camloto CEO Jimmy Kong unveiled the new start-up, which will draw its first ball tonight on all major TV stations, on Saturday at the company’s office in Phnom Penh.
VW Win Holdings invested $4 million to create its new subsidiary, with another $2 million pledged for phase two of the process in 2014, which includes the establishment of a charitable organisation.
“There is a growing middle class in Cambodia, but penetration of lottery companies is still very low. I believe Camloto has the right product with good locations and right cost structure to sustain ourselves for many years to come,” Kong, the CEO, said.
Tickets for Camloto’s drawings start at 1,000 riel each.
According to International Labour Organisation figures released in August, 37 per cent of all Cambodians live on about $1.25 per day, or 5,000 riel. Two thirds of all Cambodians live on less than $2 per day, or just more than 8,000 riel.
The ILO report concluded that approximately 635,000 Cambodians can be “classified” as the developing middle class, earning more than $4 per day and able to afford non-essential goods like a lottery ticket.
Cambodian economist Srey Chanty contested the need for more lottery operators in the Kingdom and called on the government to match the outflow of gaming licences with an increase in gaming tax.
Cambodia’s gaming tax currently sits at 10 per cent of all gaming and casino related earnings.
“Poor people especially want to believe they have a chance so they may play a small amount every week or more, but even then, the chance to win does not match the money they could save for their family,” he said. “To say that a lottery is in some way going to benefit the middle class is just an advertisement.”
The new lottery offering joins a select group of televised operators, including Lucky Dragon, which launched in October, and TAB. It comes a year after casino giant NagaWorld launched and scrapped a similar project in November 2012 due to “unpopularity”.
Drawings will occur four days a week and jackpots range between $3,750 up to $12,500.