A total of 143 casinos in Cambodia have submitted their annual licensing application to the country’s gaming regulator. So far this year, only 13 licences have been issued, Ros Phirun, Secretary General at the Commercial Gambling Management Commission of Cambodia, told GGRAsia.
“The law on commercial gambling management requires a minimum capital investment, plus the Covid-19, caused some of the licence holders (in 2021) to decide not to reapply in 2022,” he said in a written reply.
According to Mr Ros, Cambodia had previously more than 200 licensed casinos.
The official added: “Almost all casinos continue closed. In 2022, 143 have reapplied [for the annual licence]. They are in the process of licensing.”
New rules approved in 2020 state that casinos in Cambodia are required to renew their respective licence every year.
Australia-listed casino operator Donaco International Ltd said last month casino operations at its Star Vegas Club and Casino at Poipet, on Cambodia’s border with Thailand, would recommence from June 18. The property was the firm’s main money-earner prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, but it had been closed for more than two years.
“Donaco confirms that the government of Cambodia and the relevant local authorities have lifted the temporary closure of casino operations in the Banteay Meanchey province, where Star Vegas is located,” stated the casino firm at the time.
NagaCorp Ltd, operator of the NagaWorld casino resort, Cambodia’s largest gaming property, confirmed to GGRAsia last month that it planned to launch at the venue a 20-table gaming area aimed at “premium players for mass market”, either in “late third quarter or early fourth quarter”.
On Monday, Cambodian media outlet The Phnom Penh Post reported that first-half state revenue from commercial gambling in Cambodia had stood at just 8 percent of the full-year goal, set at KHR174.2 billion (US$43.55 million). Most of that revenue had come from lotteries and raffles. The outlet quoted Mr Phirun as saying that an improvement in industry-wide casino gross gaming revenue was dependent on the recovery of the country’s tourism industry.
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