Cambodia could legalise local play in new gaming bill

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A gaming law that would regulate Cambodia’s casino sector is to be presented in draft form to the country’s cabinet before the end of this month.


Casinos in Cambodia may soon be allowed to admit local residents as similar moves in neighbouring countries put pressure on the government to follow suit.

Ros Phearun, a senior official of that country’s Ministry of Economy and Finance, stated that the government was investigating the ramifications of relaxing its ban on locals in casinos, acknowledging that Vietnam’s legal changes would likely need to be matched by Cambodia if the country wants to compete on an equal footing in order to remain attractive for international investors.

According to the Khmer Times, the proposed law also authorises the government to set up a body to review casinos’ internal financial controls and promote the prevention of money laundering and prevention of other criminal activities.

“There would not be delays at the cabinet-level for the approval of the draft law because we have incorporated lots of inputs from all concerned ministries and parties,” said Phearun.

“The draft law which was finalised by joint technical teams from the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Interior will now be submitted to the government’s cabinet within [September].”

Currently, licences are issued by the authorities on a case by case basis. Cambodia’s government collected $48m in levies from the casino industry in 2016, a year-on-year increase of 40 percent.

Back in March, the US Department of State released its 2017 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report which criticised Cambodia’s non-financial sectors, including the gaming industry as “unregulated or under-regulated”.


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