Competitive pressure from neighbouring nation spurs government to act
Mounting competitive pressure from neighbouring Vietnam, and the likelihood that this will erode Cambodian land casino business, is reportedly influencing the Cambodian government to consider gambling reforms that could include online gambling.
A Cambodian government spokesman told the Phnom Penh Post Thursday that ministers are considering the need to create a more liberal market.
Ros Phirun, spokesman for the Ministry of Economy and Finance's gaming and casino department, said that the government is investigating the potential impact on Cambodian citizens.
"We have thought about Vietnam legalising it. Gambling nowadays is a worldwide industry, not just in one country or two. It is an international industry. So now we too have to internationalise the gambling industry. But in order to do that, we have to get the laws in Cambodia finished," Phirun explained.
Some drafting has already taken place in Cambodia, with proposals that the Ministry of Economy and Finance be given stronger investigative and regulatory powers over the currently underground online gambling industry in Cambodia.
Neighbouring Vietnam is moving quickly towards regulations similar to those of Singapore and Macau in an effort to draw gambling tourists to the country and collect more tax revenue, increasing the pressure for Cambodia politicians to follow suit.
Tok Kimsay, an adviser to the Royal Group-owned Titan King border casino, told the Post that the local gambling industry was becoming increasingly concerned about a future decline in players from Vietnam.
"Just at Bavet, there are between 500 to 1,000 Vietnamese gamblers coming to play here every day," he said. "If their government allows the investors to invest in the casino industry, there will be the big trouble for us."
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