The Phnom Penh Post's article "Game over for Cambo Six", published on February 26 about the government's closure of Cambodia's legal betting company Cambo Six revealed another major development of the Kingdom's policies towards gambling. It is more focused on long-term results of social improvement by eliminating contradictory forces such as gambling. The new policy will save a great deal for the government's poverty reduction plan, for public spending and for improvements in education.
Firstly, the closure will remove the forces that contradict poverty-reduction efforts. This means at the same time the government and civil society are running programs to make people richer, gambling makes them poorer.
Secondly, the government's order saves the country's public spending. The government, of course, loses tax income from gambling. But they do not need to increase the budget to cope with social problems resulting from gambling. Domestic violence, robbery and rising school dropout rates are among the main consequences, which the state needs to spend a lot of money and time to recover.
Finally, the termination of the betting business will indirectly help improve the quality of education among young people. Some of Cambo Six's customers, for instance, are youths who are still studying at schools. They may become involved in betting with sporting motivations, but they usually end up with betting addictions. For that reason, making it difficult for them to bet by closing betting places is a good start to bringing them back to schools.
Some might argue that the closure of legal gambling companies will harm the country's investment environment and create more unemployment. However, any investments that benefit a few but hurt the rest are not what the country needs.
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