Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - King enacts gambling law, betting on tighter control

King enacts gambling law, betting on tighter control

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Under the new law, Cambodian citizens are still banned from entering casinos to gamble. Photo supplied

King enacts gambling law, betting on tighter control

King Norodom Sihamoni has promulgated a long-awaited gambling law that aims to create jobs, boost the economy and bolster tourism as well as establish safeguards against money laundering and corruption.

The law, which will dictate how casinos and gambling operators conduct business, has 12 chapters and 97 articles. It was passed by the National Assembly on October 5 and endorsed by the Senate on October 26.

The law was written to manage commercial gaming centres, like casinos, and all commercial gaming activities in the Kingdom. Article 1 of the law maintains that it will help protect social safety and security as well as boost the economy and generate tax revenue.

Called the Law on the Management of Integrated Resorts and Commercial Gambling (LMCG), the law sets forth the authority and procedures for managing commercial gaming and the rights and duties of individuals and entities that own and operate gaming businesses.

Article 4 states that a Cambodia Commercial Games Committee (CCGC), which consists of 11 members from different ministries and chaired by the Minister of Economy and Finance, will govern the gaming sector, issuing policies and regulations as well as conducting inspections, providing licences and collecting income.

It will also be charged with taking action against those commercial game operators who break the law.

The law lays out the responsibilities that gaming operators must honour in the fight against money laundering, bribery, corruption and the financing of terrorism. Gaming operators must keep strict accounting records and submit them to the committee for scrutiny.

Article 54 states: “Commercial game operators must have bookkeeping according to the standard accounting, which describes the operation and financial status of its commercial games. Bookkeeping must ensure that financial report preparation is correct with clear dates.

“It must also effectively ease the review, investigation, and auditing on financial reports.”

The law maintains that Cambodians are still not legally allowed to enter casinos.

Article 68 of the law states: “All Cambodian people, including members of the armed forces, public servants and elected officials, are banned from entering casinos or commercial game facilities to gamble.”

The CCGC has the authority to inspect material and record voices from closed-circuit television cameras installed at casinos and other commercial gaming centres. Article 80 bans all automated teller machines, or ATMS, from casinos and commercial gaming centres.

Pech Pisey, executive director of Transparency International Cambodia, said establishing a legal framework was just a first step in managing the gambling industry and preventing money laundering. He said Cambodia still faces significant gaps in law enforcement and lacks of effective mechanisms to enforce the law.

“Corruption in Cambodia remains widespread. And corruption remains an enabling factor behind the problems around money laundering, which continues to undermine the rule of law in Cambodia,” he said.

Hong Vannak, an economic researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said most countries allow casinos and integrated commercial games. The sector helps their economy by reducing the outflow of money and attracting income to the country through tourism, he said.

Vannak said the impact of commercial and integrated gaming was more positive than negative, citing the tax generated for the state and jobs created. He continued that demand from casinos and commercial game centres would help Cambodia’s agricultural sector in addition to boosting real estate.

But he also cautioned against the negative aspects of commercial gaming, especially if Cambodians are allowed to gamble.

“In short, we see more positive than negative if we can control this sector. If we cannot control it, the negative aspect will come out. That’s why some countries have many policies to allow just a specific number [of casinos] at specific locations.

“Cambodia established the area along the borders for building casinos and allows some in Phnom Penh. This is another strategy to control the sector,” he said.


  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there