The Cabinet approved two new draft laws on Friday – one on the management, use and handling of state property and another on commercial gambling management – said a press release issued by the Council of Ministers.

The first bill defines state property and is expected to be signed into law. It is intended to strengthen legal frameworks, institutional structures and enhance the capacity of institutions to manage state property.

“This bill aims to respond to the needs of the government in creating effectiveness, transparency, efficiency and accountability in managing, using and handling state property in line with public financial management reform programmes,” the press release said.

The bill defines the types of state property and its management. That includes inventory lists, ownership transfers, conservation and development, inspection and auditing of state property, and punishment for violations.

The draft law on commercial gambling focuses on ensuring integrated commercial gambling that contributes to economic growth, tourism promotion, job creation, and revenue generation. It calls for strict casino sector management and measures to protect against money laundering and terrorism financing.

The Council of Ministers said in the press release that the casino sector has contributed to border area development, supported tourism, and created jobs.

Government spokesman Phay Siphan said on Sunday that the state property bill began to be formulated in 2014 under the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

He said its goal is to serve the best interests of the economy, society, environment and culture of Cambodia.

The gambling law was written in compliance with a 1998 law that allowed casino businesses to operate in Cambodia with restrictions. Casinos cannot operate within 200km of the centre of Phnom Penh – Wat Phnom – and other select locations. Cambodians are not allowed to gamble.

Siphan said the establishment of NagaWorld in Phnom Penh was an exception as the government already had an agreement with it.

He said a 1996 Law on the Suppression of Gambling paved the way for commercial gambling in Cambodia. Many countries had made commercial gambling a tool for tourist entertainment because the sector was under competitive pressures and new ideas were needed.

Siphan said money laundering and terrorism financing concerns are addressed through cooperation mechanisms with relevant casino sector partners.

“The efficient implementation of this law is to tighten the management of the casino sector and other commercial gambling more strongly and benefits the national economy and the Cambodian people.

“The establishment of proper institutional mechanisms will boost safety, security, social order, and establish international cooperation with relevant partners,” he said.

The gambling law has been in the works for nine years by the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Interior, Siphan said.

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