Draft gaming law to be approved

May Kunmakara / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
A casino dealer collects chips at a roulette table. At the end of last year 77 casino licenses were held in Cambodia. Reuters

Cambodia’s draft gaming law will be submitted to the cabinet for approval within this month to pave the way for the country to attract foreign investment in the booming gaming industry that also brings in large numbers of tourists to the kingdom, said a senior Finance Ministry official.

“We got a lot of input for the draft law after many inter-ministerial and stakeholders’ meetings,” Ros Phearun, a deputy director-general of the Finance Ministry’s financial industry department, told Khmer Times on Monday.

“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 this month,” Mr Phearun said.

“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,” he added.

“We really need to get this law off the ground fast because it will help us manage the [gaming] industry better and also collect taxes. In addition, it will also attract more big investors into the industry and also bring in tourists.”

According to the Finance Ministry, at the end of last year 77 casino licenses were held in Cambodia, of which 65 were in operation.

The new legislation is expected to contain a gambling tax of between 4 percent and 5 percent of total gaming revenue, almost the same as the tax payable by casinos in Singapore.

The proposed law also authorises the government to establish the Gaming Management Committee, which will review the adequacy of internal financial controls as well as the prevention of money laundering and other criminal activities.

These measures are seen as positive steps to increase transparency and a way of further advancing the gaming and leisure entertainment sector in Cambodia.

The government collected some $48 million from the gaming industry last year, a big increase of around 40 percent compared with the corresponding period a year earlier.

In a related development, the Australian Stock Exchange-listed Donaco International Ltd. which operates Star Vegas Resort and Club in Poipet city of Banteay Meanchey province bordering Thailand, announced that it planned to expand further in Cambodia and Vietnam.

Donaco managing director and chief executive officer Joey Lim Keong Yew was quoted by online news StarBizWeekthat as saying that the group was actively on the lookout to develop or acquire new casinos.

“The next three to five years are expected to be exciting for Donaco as we continue to eye for new opportunities in the leisure and entertainment segment, particularly by digitising the gaming experience,” Mr Lim said.

“In the next five years, we expect to enlarge our footprint in Asean. Apart from that, we are also open to venture outside of the region,” he added.

Currently, the group also operates the Aristo International Hotel in Vietnam’s Lao Cai province.

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