The government of Cambodia has ordered a “strict crackdown” on all types of illegal gambling. The announcement was made on Saturday by Prime Minister Hun Sen, according to local media reports.
The nationwide move is to include lotteries, cockfighting and poker, among other forms of unauthorised gambling. A working group has been set to oversee the implementation of the measure, to be led by the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Interior. A first meeting, led by the Minister of Interior, Sar Kheng, is scheduled for Monday (September 19), reported local media outlet the Khmer Times.
The move by the Cambodia government followed news that illegal gambling was rampant in that nation, according to the Khmer Times. The country has also been under the spotlight recently, with a number of reports about people from other countries in Asia being trafficked into Cambodia and forced to work for criminal syndicates, namely in operations related to illegal gambling.
The country boasts a sizeable, licensed casino industry. As of July, a total of 143 casinos in Cambodia had submitted an annual licensing application to the country’s gaming regulator. At the time, only 13 licences had been issued, according to the Commercial Gambling Management Commission of Cambodia.
The prime minister stated in his Saturday message that illegal gambling activities did not benefit the country’s economy: instead, they were leading to gambling addiction among Cambodians; and people facing gambling-related debts, and having to sell property to cover such obligations.
“I’d like to issue a strict order to all municipal or provincial governors to take immediate actions to suppress indiscriminately on all types of illegal gambling,” the prime minister said in a recorded message made public. “It is no longer possible to tolerate an anarchic situation.”
He added that any municipal or provincial official failing to curb illegal gambling in their respective jurisdiction would face consequences. “This measure must be implemented very strictly”, he said.
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