The government of Cambodia has collected a total of US$12 million in taxes from gaming activities in the first six months of 2015, a 20 percent increase over the prior-year period, reported The Cambodia Daily newspaper, quoting a Finance Ministry official.
Ros Phearun, a spokesman for the ministry, said the number of licensed casinos in Cambodia rose from 57 to 65 as of June 30. He added that tax revenue had increased as a greater number of Thai nationals crossed into Cambodia to gamble, the media outlet reported.
“The amount of casino tax revenue collected is dependent on the situation in the border areas. The proportion [of tax revenues] from the Cambodia-Thailand border areas is large,” Mr Phearun said this week, according to The Cambodia Daily.
The official reportedly added that fewer people had been travelling from Vietnam to Cambodia to gamble – particularly Chinese businessmen – as Vietnam’s gaming industry has been expanding. Currently, only holders of foreign passports are allowed to gamble in Vietnam’s casinos.
In Thailand casino gambling is not legal, although there have been recent suggestions that licensing casinos could boost tourism in the country and stop locals to go across the border to gamble. The Thai Prime Minister, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, however has shown little interest in adding such an initiative to the government’s agenda.
NagaCorp Ltd, developer and operator of NagaWorld casino resort in Cambodia’s capital, said it expected its first half net profit to rise “not less than 40 percent” compared to the prior-year period. The Hong Kong-listed firm anticipates such profit to be “not less than US$100 million and potentially more”, it stated in a filing in June.
In his remarks to The Cambodia Daily, Mr Phearun acknowledged that the government has contracts that state “how much individual casinos have to pay” in taxes to the government. The official justified the unique arrangements with each casino with a lack of a national law regulating casinos.
The Cambodian government was said last year to be revising gaming-related legislation, which would include a draft of a national casino law.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China