A total of 21 casinos in Cambodia’s coastal province of Sihanoukville, among venues shuttered due to Covid-19, have petitioned the authorities for permission to resume operations, the Phnom Penh Post reported on Wednesday, citing Preah Sihanouk provincial government spokesman Kheang Phearum.
The owners need the go ahead of Cambodia’s Ministry of Health, and must adopt Covid-19 prevention measures before such a restart would be possible, the media outlet reported, citing Mr Phearum.
All casinos in Cambodia were ordered to suspend their operations with effect from April 1, as part of the country’s effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on July 3 that casinos in the country would be permitted to resume business if they met certain public health requirements.
Hong Kong-listed casino group NagaCorp Ltd announced on July 19 it had been allowed by the Cambodian government to reopen “all of its casino businesses” at its NagaWorld gaming complex in Phnom Penh, including mass-market gaming tables.
Elsewhere in the country, owners of some other casinos – in Bavet and Poipet, two border towns catering respectively mainly for Vietnamese and Thai customers – had not yet approached the government regarding reopening, said the Phnom Penh Post, citing Mey Vann, an official at the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
The reason, said the official, was that the Vietnam and Thailand borders there were still closed to travellers.
Australia-listed casino operator Donaco International Ltd confirmed in a Wednesday filing it was awaiting a Cambodian-government inspection of its Star Vegas Resort and Club in Poipet, which the firm said was a pre-condition for reopening.
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Carlo Santarelli and Steven Pizzella
Deutsche Bank analysts