There was a “very positive public response” to the reopening on Wednesday of the NagaWorld casino resort in Phnom Penh after a shutdown amid the Covid-19 alert, said Tim McNally, chairman of the Cambodian resort’s promoter, NagaCorp Ltd.
The firm has been permitted to reopen its VIP gambling tables and slot machines operation, subject to applying Covid-19 countermeasures.
“Naga opened yesterday [July 8] with a very positive public response,” Mr McNally told GGRAsia. “We had a very good opening and anticipate increased visitation.”
Mr McNally did not give details of how many members of the public visited for the reopening. But he added that Covid-19 prevention measures at the NagaWorld complex (pictured in file photo) were of “the highest standards and strictly enforced”.
Mr McNally said the firm’s founder and chief executive, Chen Lip Keong, “being a medical doctor, certainly intends Naga[World] to set the bar high for the private sector in terms of best practices”.
All casinos in Cambodia were ordered to shut down temporarily with effect from April 1, as part of a number of measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus responsible for the Covid-19 infection.
A Sunday filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange by NagaCorp, announcing it had a deal with the Cambodian government allowing it to reopen, said NagaWorld’s opportunity was designed to “serve as a template for application for reopening of business by other casinos”.
Regarding other developments in that market, Mr McNally declined to offer comment on a report by Chinese news agency Xinhua, that Cambodia’s cabinet had approved a draft law on the management of commercial gambling, which was designed to control casinos and other gaming facilities in the country.
The report, citing Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan, said the draft bill set a minimum capital for the investment in a casino and stated measures to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.
Approval for the draft bill was given at the same weekly cabinet meeting that approved NagaWorld’s reopening, reported Xinhua, citing the government spokesman.
A statute to regulate the casino industry in Cambodia has long been anticipated.
Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings stated recently that a US$350-million new note offering outlined in late June by NagaCorp, would help improve NagaCorp’s liquidity during the Covid-19 crisis.
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