Cambodia National Assembly Approves Gambling Bill

  • The draft law relates to the management of commercial gambling operations
  • Included in the measures are regulations to fight terrorism financing and money laundering
  • The next step for the bill is a review by the country’s Senate
  • Local casinos have been dealing with pandemic closures and a ban on online gambling
Flag of Cambodia flying against a blue sky
The National Assembly in Cambodia has approved a bill that aims to improve casino regulations in the country. [Image:]

Implementing new measures

Cambodia’s National Assembly has approved a draft law for commercial gambling. The goal is to better regulate operations at casinos and other gaming establishments across the nation. The Cabinet previously approved the bill in July.

fight the financing of terrorism and money laundering

According to Chinese news agency Xinhua, Cambodia’s Economy and Finance Minister Aun Pornmoniroth explained that the draft law would implement minimum capital requirements for investing in casino projects. There would also be new measures that would fight the financing of terrorism and money laundering through the gambling industry.

During the National Assembly session on Monday, Pornmoniroth reportedly said: “The law is aimed at further strengthening the management of commercial gaming facilities in Cambodia so as to contribute to boosting economic growth, promoting tourism, increasing tax revenue as well as maintaining social safety and security.”

Long-expected bill

Casino industry regulation legislation has been expected for a while; the next step for the bill is to undergo a review by the Senate.

Currently, Cambodian authorities issue casino licenses on a case-by-case basis. In total, there are about 193 licensed casinos in the country.

improve the confidence of promoting investment and tourism in the country.”

Major Cambodian casino company NagaCorp Ltd. commented on the bill’s Assembly approval in a filing on Monday. It touched upon how this gambling law will “strengthen the gaming regulatory environment and improve the confidence of promoting investment and tourism in the country.”

NagaCorp is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and operates the NagaWorld casino resort in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh. The company holds an exclusive license for operating casinos in the capital, as well as nearby areas.

Dealing with recent setbacks

The COVID-19 pandemic forced widespread casino closures across the world, including in Cambodia. NagaCorp was able to come to an agreement with the government to resume its slot machines and VIP table games on July 8, having been closed since April.

Player capacity had to be reduced to 43% on table games and 50% on slot machines. Other casinos were able to resume their operations once they met health and safety protocols.

Many Cambodian gambling operators are also dealing with the nationwide ban on online gambling that took effect on January 1, 2020. The catalyst for this ban came from China, as the global superpower has issues with offshore online gambling platforms targeting its citizens. 

These shutdowns have led to significant job losses, though there have been cases of operators ignoring the ban and continuing to offer online gambling.

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