Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Groups poised to bid for $500m casino



Groups poised to bid for $500m casino

Groups poised to bid for $500m casino

F IVE casino companies and a consortium have expressed interest in the Royal Goverment's $500 million project to build a casino on Naga Island off Sihanoukville, a Tourism Ministry source said.

Two of the potential bidders are from Malaysia, one is from Australia's Gold Coast, one from Hong Kong, while the fifth is an international syndicate, the source said. He added that he was unable to name the companies and spoke after the Ministry officially announced Nov 21 as the closing date for bids to be submitted.

In a further development in the wake of the passage of the Investment Law through the National Assembly, the Ministry has announced a package of investment incentives and low tax measures to attract more interest in the project.

They include a 70-year licence and a 10-year exclusivity on casino operations in Cambodia including an interim right to operate a floating casino in Phnom Penh.

Tourism Minister Veng Sereyvuth said that the gaming tax has been set at 7 percent, the lowest in the region.

"The casino will have a tax free holiday of eight years and then, under the new Investment Law, a concessional tax rate of only 9 percent of corporate profits," he said.

There will be no tax on the distribution of dividends overseas or in Cambodia, and 100 percent import duty exemption on capital goods and construction materials.

The project is being offered for international tender through the Australian company Lewis and Partners.

Not only will the winning bidder be required to build a luxury resort conforming to the Royal Government's specifications but will also be required to spend up to $100 million on upgrading Sihanoukville airport to international standards.

The casino would be the first in Indochina, and would exclude Cambodians and target "foreigners only".

Cambodia is ideally positioned, claims Veng, to capture the high- roller gambler market, many of whom will come from Thailand, where gambling is illegal.

Currently Thai gamblers are flown free of charge to Burswood Casino in Perth, where they receive free accommodation. Some of the highest rollers are rumored to spend $1 million in a night.

In a glossy brochure inviting bids on the project Naga Island is described as "located in the centre of booming southeast Asia," and as having white sandy beaches and virgin jungle.

The Ministry of Tourism had invited journalists to visit the 100-hectare tropical paradise island on Sept 20. However the trip by private plane to Sihanoukville was later cancelled due to technical problems. It was not clear at press time if the trip was going to be rescheduled.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and