With the government collecting $50 million in tax revenue from casinos this year, Finance Minister Aun Pornmoniroth has noted that the figure will likely decrease next year due to the ban on online gambling.
Mr Pornmoniroth on Tuesday met with Pich Sros, president of Cambodian Youth Party and a member of the Supreme Consultative Council, to discuss the 2020 national budget.
According to the meeting minutes, Mr Pornmoniroth said that casinos accounted for $50 million in total tax revenue respectively in 2018 and 2019, but will decrease next year because online gambling has been banned in the Kingdom.
“We received considerable tax revenue from the casino industry. For instance, the ministry collected $50 million in 2018 and it is the same amount in 2019, but it will drop in 2020 because online gambling is banned,” he said.
Mr Pornmoniroth noted that the ban was aimed at preventing unscrupulous businesses operating in the Kingdom and to ensure the country’s economic stability.
“The ministry needs Chinese investment, except for online gambling. The ministry will work out a new system, which is the master plan and an economic hub for Preah Sihanouk province in order to attract scrupulous Chinese investment,” he said.
Finance Ministry spokesman Meas Soksensan yesterday said the ministry plans to offer more opportunities for foreign investors in other sectors to generate more revenue.
“We want more investors who are willing to invest in other fields such as development and economics,” he said. “We do not want them to invest in online gambling.”
In August, Prime Minister Hun Sen issued a directive banning all online and arcade gambling in the Kingdom in a bid to safeguard security and public order.
Ros Phearun, a deputy director-general of the Finance Ministry’s financial industry department, yesterday said that the government will generate revenue from other sources.
“The government could generate revenue from other sources. That’s why local people were not encouraged to get involved in such business,” Mr Phearun said.
Mr Phearun said that currently, 215 casino licenses have been issued in the Kingdom and most of them are in Preah Sihanouk province.
Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesman Kheang Phearum yesterday said that the government is now renovating infrastructure in the province to attract investment.
“The ban on online gambling is to ensure security, public order and to prevent crimes from taking place,” he said. “The province will attract more investment after the government completes renovating its main infrastructure.”