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Casino tax revenue rises

May Kunmakara / Khmer Times Share:
Nagaworld’s net profit rose by seven percent in 2016 to $184.2 million. Reuters

The government collected $48 million from the casino industry last year, a rise of about 40 per cent compared with 2015.
Ros Phearun, a deputy director-general of the Finance Ministry’s financial industry department, said that along with an effort by the government to improve tax revenue, the casino industry also has been contributing to extra revenue.
He said the government and NagaWorld had agreed on additional payments for non-gaming activities. This led to a big increase in tax revenue from the industry.
“Now, we have got more from NagaWorld since they complied with our requirement to pay on non-gaming revenue,” he said.
NagaWorld, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed NagaCorp, recorded a modest four percent increase in gross gaming revenue (GGR) last year, bringing the figure up to $500.8 million.
According to a Hong Kong stock exchange filing last month, mass market revenues rose by seven percent to $129.7 million while revenues from electronic gaming machines increased by six percent to $145.5 million.
VIP earnings, however, only saw a one percent increase to $225.7 million.
The company’s net profit rose by seven percent in 2016 to $184.2 million, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization increasing by 12 percent to $256.1 million.
Growth in 2016 was lukewarm compared with 2015 as its GGR rose by 26 percent to $480.6 million. Its mass market rose by 33.4 percent to $257.7 million in 2015 while its VIP segments saw an 18.5 percent growth to $222.9 million.
 NagaWorld last year also increased its payments of the monthly gaming obligations to the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF), paying $410,987 last year compared with $365,322 in 2015.
“During the year, having discussed with the MOEF, the group paid an additional obligation payment of $16,558,000 to the MOEF. Additional obligation payments [if any] are subject to future developments in this matter,” the filing read.
 Mr. Phearun said the casino’s online gaming, which the government has allowed, is also on the rise.
“We also notice an increase in revenue from online gaming because the casino now can offer it to customers outside the country,” he said.
“They have a lot of customers now so now we don’t only rely on ground-based gaming but also online gaming.”
A new gaming law is expected this year. Mr. Phearun said the government is cautious about online gaming as it is hard to manage. “I have learnt from foreign experts on online gaming so we are planning to set up a system to manage it,” he said.
“I don’t think online gaming will take away all the land-based gaming because most of the customers don’t just come for gambling but also to visit and relax in our country too,” he said.
At the end of last year, 77 casino licenses were held in Cambodia, 65 of which were in operation. Many casinos are near the borders of Thailand and Vietnam.

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