A total of 83 Cambodia venues – most of them on the country’s border with Vietnam – are yet to gain approval for casino licence renewal, with examples of deciding factors including ability to meet capital requirement as stipulated in the country’s commercial gambling law, said a senior Cambodian gaming regulator in comments to GGRAsia.
The gaming facilities concerned are “not yet reopened”, noted Ros Phirun, Secretary General at the Commercial Gambling Management Commission of Cambodia. A factor in some cases was not having “strong enough” supporting documentation, though Mr Ros did not specify what was deficient in those cases.
In August 2021, Cambodia issued a sub-decree on the “minimum capital requirement for casino operation” that applies to new and existing standalone casinos or casinos within integrated resorts (IRs). The sub-decree was issued following the promulgation of the country’s new commercial gambling law in November 2020.
The required minimum capital is defined as the current assets including shareholder funds deposited with the casino operator firm in question, as well as immovable assets such as property. In the case of an IR this must be to the value of at least KHR800 billion (US$200 million).For non-IR properties, such value should amount to at minimum of KHR400 billion. Those figures are according to a memo from law firm Rajah & Tann Asia, and seen by GGRAsia. The memo was issued after Cambodia’s relevant sub-decree.
Only NagaCorp Ltd’s NagaWorld complex – a long -licence casino monopoly within a certain radius of the country’s capital, Phnom Penh, is currently classified as a Cambodian IR, the regulator confirmed in response to a request for clarification from GGRAsia.
As of October 10, only 87 out of an aggregate of 171 applications for casino licensing have had their licences renewed, Mr Ros said. So far, one out of the 171 applications had been denied. Venues that have been offering gaming are in locations including the Cambodia-Thai border, the country’s border with Vietnam, and the coastal city of Sihanoukville.
There had been over 200 casinos active in Cambodia in 2020, stated Mr Ros. But the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the “strengthening of gaming law and regulation” imposed by the authority: especially the new minimum-capital threshold for operators, had been a factor in the decline in the number of active casinos in the country, the official remarked to GGRAsia.
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