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Cambodia poised to be regional gambling hub: AGE

May Kunmakara / Khmer Times Share:
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Asia Gaming Expo yesterday launched a two-day regional gaming expo and conference in Sihanoukville, noting that Cambodia is poised to become a regional gambling hub because of the growing numbers of tourist arrivals for the purpose.

This year’s Best Gaming Expo and Conference in South East Asia is focusing on gambling and casino operations in Asia.

AGE, which represents the entire gaming industry covering land based and online channels across all sectors, noted that Cambodia is one of few countries in Southeast Asia where gambling is legal.

It said there are 60 legal gambling facilities in the Kingdom, including casinos and sports betting parlours, which are spread over 13 cities.

“Sihanoukville set to become Cambodia’s top casino hub and Chinese gaming operators are rapidly transforming it into the country’s leading casino hotspot,” AGE said in a statement. “Cambodia has issued more than 80 casino licenses by the middle of this year, and Sihanoukville’s casino market is starting to rival that of Poipet and Bavet, which cater to customers who stream across the border from Thailand and Vietnam, respectively.”

Ros Phearun, deputy director-general at the ministry’s financial industry department, told Khmer Times recently that the number of casino licences issued by the government has risen to 163 from January to April, adding that 91 of them are located in Preah Sihanouk province.

Last year, the government collected $46 million from the gaming industry. The figure is expected to reach $70 million this year.

Currently, a draft of the gaming law has already been completed at the ministry level and will be submitted to the Council of Ministers soon.

“With this law, we hope that to attract more big casino investors and increase revenue from the industry,” Mr Phearun said. “I think that as a result of this law, revenue collected from the industry will double.”

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