The Phnom Penh Municipal Hall said it has introduced an urgent plan comprising measures to eliminate unauthorised gambling in the capital.
Speaking to The Post on Monday, Phnom Penh Municipal Hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey said the plan covered instructions for the police chiefs in the capital to launch clampdowns on illegal gambling.
The plan, Pheakdey said, was initiated by Phnom Penh Governor Khuong Sreng, who, in a recent meeting, urged more crackdowns on illegal gambling through the implementation of a “unified command” to carry out the tasks.
“As we see, [instances of] illegal gambling appear to be increasing, therefore, His Excellency governor [Sreng] introduced an urgent plan so that each chief could formulate strategies to conduct the crackdowns”.
Khuong Sreng said on Monday that “the task [of cracking down on illegal gambling] needs to be further enhanced even though clampdowns on such activity have been carried out on a daily basis”.
He stressed the importance of a holding regular meeting with the unified commanders to urge them to constantly remind their subordinates to eliminate illegal gambling.
“In fact, this is my direct responsibility, said Sreng. “Every month I have to conduct a meeting to set a plan for them.”
He continued that the unified commanders have enough measures to crack down on illegal gambling and narcotics to ensure security and safety for the people.
“The main objective of the unified commanders within the Phnom Penh administration, as well as within other levels, is to pay attention to these problems,” Sreng said.
Meas Pheakdey said a number of unlicensed gambling premises in Daun Penh district have been raided, following the introduction of the plan.
Affiliated Network for Social Accountability executive director San Chey told The Post that the crackdowns on illegal gambling are covered in the Kingdom’s Law on the Suppression of Gambling, which outlaws gambling outside unlicensed premises.
However, he was unsure whether the governor’s plan had additional measures or strategies on top of what had been stipulated in the existing regulations.
Chey stressed that crackdowns on illegal gambling needed to be enforced without any interruption.
“As we are aware that many illegal gambling businesses tended to be connected to those with power or influential figures,” he said.
Last year, Cambodia granted 52 licenses to casinos, bringing the total awarded to 150 at the end of last year, thanks largely to a surge in gambling businesses in the Kingdom’s Preah Sihanouk province.
Figures from the Ministry of Economy and Finance said there were 53 per cent more licensed casinos at the end of last year compared to the end of 2017 when there were just 98.