Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Locals still off-limits, PM cautions casinos

Locals still off-limits, PM cautions casinos

Locals still off-limits, PM cautions casinos

As Cambodian migrant workers return in droves from Thailand through the casino-laden border town of Poipet, Prime Minister Hun Sen is warning gambling parlour owners this does not mean a jackpot for them.

“Casinos in Phnom Penh and along the border are not for Khmer citizens,” a post dated on Sunday on a Facebook page attributed to Hun Sen says. “Violating this law can affect casinos’ licenses.”

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak yesterday attested to the edict’s validity.

The post goes on to call on police in all provinces to crack down on illegal online betting amid the World Cup, and warned authorities who participate in such activities to stop immediately.

Gambling of all types, the Facebook post continues, “splits up families” and is responsible for myriad societal ills including “thievery and drugs”.

When and how the gambling crackdown would begin was unclear, Sopheak said yesterday, but allowing Cambodian citizens – who are legally barred from entering the Kingdom’s casinos – to play could see a casino’s licence nullified. “We know that there are a number of Khmers playing at these casinos,” Sopheak said. “We have nothing to do but to withdraw their licences.”

But tough rhetoric on gambling is nothing new, said Yem Ponharith, a spokesman for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party. The prime minister issued a similar warning years ago, which never came to fruition, he said.

However, Ponharith agreed that gambling causes a number of serious social problems.

“These casinos are small, but create consequences that are seriously affecting society.”

Ly Por You, owner of New World Casino in Svay Rieng province’s Bavet town, said Cambodians are not allowed in his casino, but acknowledged that some try to sneak in. “If [a patron] is Cambodian, [we] tell security to chase them out,” Por You said.

His vigilance would appear to be rare. During visits to multiple casinos for a September 2012 story, Post reporters saw no such enforcement, even when identifying themselves as Cambodians before playing.

MOST VIEWED

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman