A gaming law that would regulate Cambodia’s casino sector is to be presented in draft form to the country’s cabinet before the end of this month, reports the Khmer Times newspaper.
The news outlet cited the source of the information as Ros Phearun, a senior official of that country’s Ministry of Economy and Finance. The official indicated one aim was to attract a greater amount of international investment in Cambodia’s gaming industry.
The 2017 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report from the United States’ Department of State, issued in March, said Cambodia’s non-financial sectors, “including – most significantly – the gaming and real property industries,” were “unregulated or under-regulated”. Industry analysts have told GGRAsia that such an assessment from the U.S. federal government would make it hard currently for U.S.-listed casino companies to invest in Cambodia.
According to the Khmer Times, the proposed law authorises the government to set up a body to review casinos’ internal financial controls and promote the prevention of money laundering and prevention of other criminal activities.
Reports of imminent casino regulation have been circulating for several years. In June 2014, the Phnom Penh Post newspaper had reported that a draft of what it termed a “national casino law” was to have been finalised that year.
Currently, licences and the terms of such licences are issued by the authorities on a case by case basis.
Mr Phearun indicated that on the present occasion it was unlikely that any further significant delays would occur in expediting legislation.
“There would not be delays at the cabinet-level for the approval of the draft law because we have incorporated lots of inputs from all concerned ministries and parties,” said the official as quoted by the Khmer Times.
“The draft law which was finalised by joint technical teams from the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Interior will now be submitted to the government’s cabinet within this month,” Mr Phearun stated.
Another aspect of the new law is said to be regulation of casino taxation.
Cambodia’s government collected US$48 million in levies from the country’s casino industry in 2016, a year-on-year increase of 40 percent, reported the Khmer Times in March.
According to the news outlet, the new legislation is expected to outline a gambling tax of between 4 percent and 5 percent of total gaming revenue.
“We really need to get this law off the ground fast because it will help us manage the industry better and also collect taxes. In addition, it will also attract more big investors into the industry and also bring in tourists,” the newspaper quoted Mr Phearun as saying.
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Total number of casino properties currently in operation in Cambodia, according to the country's Ministry of Finance