PHNOM Penh Governor Kep Chuktema has announced the closure of the city's gambling centres in line with a government order issued to municipal authorities Thursday.
Speaking during the municipality's annual congress Monday at City Hall, Kep Chuktema said police and military police had cracked down on all forms of gambling - including slot machine parlours, sports betting and illegal casinos - in each of Phnom Penh's eight districts.
"Lotteries may look like a simple thing, but this gambling causes poor people to become poorer and poorer," he said, adding the current crackdown had four aims: to get signatures from gambling operators promising to cease their operations; to force Cambo Six and Sporting Live Group outlets to remove their logos and shut up shop; to force lottery owners to cease business within a week; and to shut down illegal gambling centres and send their owners to court.
Nuon Samet, chief of the Municipal Cabinet, said at the congress that authorities had previously "lacked control" of slot parlours and football betting, which he said were a "significant cause" of robberies.
He added that City Hall had created a 2009 plan to enforce the closure of gambling centres, in addition to karaoke bars and video sex cafes close to schools.
The municipal crackdown comes following a February 24 order by Prime Minister Hun Sen for the closure of Cambo Six sports betting outlets and slot machine parlours across the country.
Phnom Penh Police Chief Touch Naruth said that 44 slot machine venues, 29 Cambo Six outlets and 12 Sporting Live Group outlets had been closed since Thursday, and said that on the whole, operators had complied with government orders.