Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Pailin casino ready to roll

Pailin casino ready to roll

Pailin casino ready to roll

pailin.gif
pailin.gif

BRAVE NEW WORLD

Vietnamese electricians brave former KR territory to put the final touches on

Pailin's new casino.

PAILIN - The unthinkable just one year ago will soon happen in this city infamous

for strident militancy and intolerance toward vice: the nearly-complete Caesar International

Casino will open its doors within the next month.

The building will be the largest commercial establishment in the city, where owning

property was once considered theft and carrying a deck of cards was grounds for re-education.

Foreign ownership in the venture is unclear, but the Cambodian partner is MSP Development,

owned by Koh Meng Sreng who is proprietor of the Sharaton Hotel in Phnom Penh and

the son of Cambodia Chamber of Commerce president Teng Bunma.

MSP also operates the duty free concession in Pailin and another casino on the Thai

border 15km west of the city, which draws hundreds across the frontier each day.

There are already 18 gaming tables and 36 security cameras in the new building. Another

14 tables will come from the open-air casino at the border, which is scheduled to

close when the new venue opens.

Meng Sreng and Pailin Governor Ee Chhean declined to comment after they met here

July 12.

MSP representatives, who declined to be named, say that their company is banking

on Thais making the journey from the border, so they plan to repair the road.

Security along the route has not been as good as in the past. Two people - one

of them a Pailin municipal official - were killed last month in a daylight hold-up.

"When the casino opens, we will provide armed escorts for the Thais," said

Pailin deputy police commissioner Bou Sarin.

It is unclear whether the casino has received official sanction from the government.

Sarin says that he is not familiar with the details, but as a policeman he is familiar

with the law.

"The casino must be approved by Phnom Penh," he said. "We are not

an autonomous zone."

Interior Minister Sar Kheng visited Pailin on July 14, distributing 87 tonnes of

government rice. Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak said that the delegation did not

visit the casino or speak about it.

"Issuing casino licenses is not under the Ministry of Interior," he explained.

"It is up to the government to decide."

Dealers, cashiers and restaurant staff were recruited from a nondescript office across

the street from Phnom Penh's Sharaton Hotel. The promise of salaries of between $180

and $300 per month drew scores of applicants willing to brave living in the former

guerrilla stronghold.

The bravest - or craziest - workers of all are the Vietnamese crew brought in to

complete the carpentry, electrical work and plumbing. The seven men tend to keep

to themselves, but report no overt intimidation despite widespread anti-Vietnamese

sentiment.

"We are happy to be working here, but we look forward to finishing the job,"

said an electrician who declined to be named.

In all, MSP Development plans to employ 60 people in the casino. The company operating

the adjoining restaurant has taken on an additional 30.

"We didn't want to get involved with the restaurant because we didn't want any

problems with customers running up bills," said the MSP source. "F&B

[food and beverage] is a completely separate operation."

While he says that Thais will constitute the bulk of the clientele, Khmer nationals

will not be barred from entering. "What can we say?" he asks. "If

the people around here with money want to come in, we will welcome them."

MOST VIEWED

  • No more Africa travel ban but new rules for arrivals

    The Ministry of Health has decided to lift the ban on travellers from or who have travelled through 10 African countries and instead issued a set of standard operating procedures to manage passenger arrivals at Cambodia’s international airports. The 10 African countries are Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho,

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • PM blasts Vietnam general over Covid claims

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on December 6 expressed dismay after Vietnamese general Hoang Xuan Chien, formerly in charge of Vietnam’s border defences, claimed that Cambodia was a source of Covid-19 transmissions to the country. Speaking at the opening ceremony for National Road 11 connecting Prey Veng