The authorities in Cambodia granted 13 casino licences in the first four months of this year, the Khmer Times reported.
The Cambodian newspaper quoted an official in the Ministry of Finance in Phnom Penh, Ros Phearun, as saying the authorities had now granted a total of 163 casino licences. Mr Phearun said 91 of the licences were for casinos in the province of Preah Sihanouk, an area that includes the southern gambling destination of Sihanoukville.
“We have granted a lot of licences, but there are actually only 51 casinos in operation,” he said. “The rest are now being built, while some have halted operations.”
“The rise in the number of casinos reflects the increase in tourists, particularly Chinese,” Mr Phearun stated.
He said the government expected to collect US$70 million in tax revenue from the gaming industry this year, having collected US$46 million the year before.
The official added that the relevant ministries had finished drafting legislation governing gaming, and that the respective bill would be sent to the Council of Ministers soon, with a view to its eventual enactment.
“With this law, we hope that to attract more big casino investors and increase revenue from the industry,” the Khmer Times quoted Mr Phearun as saying. “I think that, as a result of this law, revenue collected from the industry will double.”
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”I do not believe that this event [the collapse of a under-construction building in Sihanoukville] will slow down the issuance of [gaming] licences. Market forces will probably dictate the process as developers evaluate projected future demand for gaming in the region”
Senior partner at business consultancy Global Market Advisors