The Cambodia government collected a total of US$25 million in taxes from gaming revenue in 2014, up by 12 percent year-on-year, a senior government official told the country’s Cambodian Television Network on Monday.
“[The] casino sector has not only generated revenue for the state’s coffer, but also contributed to developing areas along the border,” Ros Phirun, director general of the financial industry department at the country’s Ministry of Finance, was quoted saying.
According to the broadcaster, Mr Phirun said he expects a more modest growth of 4 percent this year, to US$26 million.
The official said that there are currently 59 casinos in operation in the country, all of them established along border areas, except for NagaWorld (pictured), the only casino resort in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh.
Annual gross gaming revenue at NagaWorld grew by 23 percent year-on-year in 2014 to US$381.4 million, said the venue’s operator NagaCorp Ltd.
Last year, Cambodia recorded 4.5 million international visitor arrivals, a 7 percent rise from the prior-year, according to data from the country’s Ministry of Tourism.
Visitors from Vietnam topped the list, accounting for 20.1 percent of the total, followed by tourists from China, accounting for 12.4 percent. Arrivals from China increased by 21 percent year-on-year to 560,335 visitors in 2014.
The Cambodian government is said to be in the process of amending its gaming laws in a bid to draw major casino operators to the country. In September, a government spokesman said the country was considering allowing its citizens to gamble in casinos.
Under Cambodia’s Law on the Suppression of Gambling adopted by the National Assembly in 1996, gambling in any form is technically illegal for Cambodian citizens, unless they have access to a foreign passport.
Foreign investors have been showing increasing interest in the market, especially as Chinese players wary of China’s anti-corruption drive look for new venues beyond Macau.
Boutique casino operator Donaco International Ltd in January announced it had agreed to acquire the Star Vegas Resort and Club casino property in Poipet, a town on Cambodia’s border with Thailand, for a consideration of US$360 million.
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"We warn the cross-border gambling crime suspects to stop their criminal acts, to return to the country, and turn themselves in so that they could still be granted lenient treatment"
Spokesman from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs