Malaysian company SV International Sdn Bhd says in a promotional video that it has obtained approval from Cambodia’s Council of Ministers to develop hotels and casinos in Sihanoukville (pictured), a coastal city in Cambodia.
On Monday, the Cambodia Daily newspaper quoted Ros Phearun, a spokesman for Cambodia’s Ministry of Finance, confirming government approval of SV International’s initial plans for development in Sihanoukville. But he added that SV International had not yet applied to the ministry regarding casino licensing for the newly announced projects or provided details of the developments.
Alan Lim, described as SV International’s founder and group chairman, was quoted by the newspaper saying the planned developments included casinos, online casinos, hotels and pawnshops.
The firm’s first property – to be called SV World casino – would be in a refurbished hotel, Mr Lim was quoted as saying. The revamp work would start in April and be completed by September.
The Phnom Penh Post newspaper on Monday separately reported that an entity called Salient Ventures Ltd – described as a locally registered arm of SV International – was bulk-buying potential development land in Sihanoukville’s port area. SV International said in its promotional video that it was also purchasing existing hotels in the area for renovation and equipping them with gaming licences.
The Malaysian firm additionally said in the video that it hoped to acquire “in the next three to six months … its second casino licence” in Cambodia.
Cambodia does not currently have a gaming law. Mr Phearun was quoted in February saying it might introduce such a statute this year. In the absence of formal regulation, Cambodia has issued licences for land-based casinos, and some venues have then requested permission to include online operations.
In November the Khmer Times reported that a Cambodian entrepreneur – said to own three border casinos serving Thai gamblers – had been given permission to expand his gaming businesses into online activities.
Tim Shepherd, president of business development for Asian casino and gambling hall operator Silver Heritage Ltd, said on Wednesday during the iGaming Asia Congress held in Macau that Sihanoukville had recently become popular with firms wishing to operate telephone betting operations to Asian customers, mostly by the use of live video feeds showing casino dealers operating casino table games. He noted that telephone betting – also known as proxy betting – while having been technically allowed in Macau if it did not involve a live video link, had now largely been eliminated from the Macau market.
In a November 2014 note, brokerage Daiwa Securities Group Inc said that – at the time of writing – proxy betting had been estimated to account for 8 percent of the Macau market’s casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) for VIP play. Macau’s VIP baccarat GGR in 2014 was nearly MOP212.54 billion (US$26.6 billion), according to Macau government data.
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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