Cambodia Confirms Intent to End Online Gambling Industry
At the end of 2019, Cambodia has established a new law that online casinos are banned. They had made the first announcement in August, with licenses set to expire without renewal. Cambodian casinos failing to comply will face tough ramifications, a Finance Ministry spokesperson has warned. The country’s operators have been adapting to the new landscape post-ban. So far, the 118 casinos operating within the territory have observed the ban and ceased to offer online casino services to Cambodian residents.
The ban follows a deeply divisive period of politico-economic debate that concluded with the Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sun issuing a directive to eradicate the option for online casinos. According to him, Cambodia can no longer depend on online gambling for their economy because being a centre of online gambling activity could potentially lure money laundering and other criminal financial activities.
Casino gambling has not been completely outlawed, however, there are many thriving venues still frequented by tourists and locals alike. Gambling in Cambodia is only legal at brick and mortar venues from 2020 and industry analysts look on with interest to see how the situation will develop.
While needing to enforce the ban, police, military personal and government officials went on a tour throughout Cambodia, visiting and checking in with the nation’s biggest casinos to ensure that they are fully complying with the revocation of the online casino license. This will continue in the future to ensure that when the media attention has faded away, Cambodia’s casinos will obey the new laws
The industry has taken a huge fall when losing their primary source of revenue. The ban on online casinos has definitely been a downfall for the industry. Majority of Cambodia’s casinos are expected to be shut down in the future. This leads up to 8,000 people to be jobless as they are expected to already have had contracts terminated.
The financial opportunities were tremendous in this part of the world for the past several years. Many that borrowed money from banks to start business to meet the surging demand for luxury apartments, car rentals, leisure venues, hotels, restaurants etc. the investment in the city was enormous. Even so, all of this was underpinned when the revenue being generated by the casinos and their online platforms.
The ban has made the economic graph go flat. Before the ban, back in June 2019, a tragic accident on one of the building sites throughout the city killed 28 workers. This is due because the safety precautions were ignored and the authorities launched a massive crackdown on rogue developers taking such careless risks without initializing the safety of their employees.
It has been a bad couple of years for Cambodia, and the exponential growth experienced in the previous years has come to a sudden and dramatic end. The government will need to take action and initiate quantitative easing measures, invest heavily in infrastructure and spur on linear growth that will ultimately relieve the difficult situation that they currently find themselves in.
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