Cambodia’s leader has called on his countrymen to stop their wicked, wicked ways and give up the gamble.
A week back, Prime Minister Hun Sen gave a speech at the Techo Aphivat commune, a social housing development for retired soldiers in Kampot province, saying he was “ashamed that some officials and some people I had high esteem for are addicted to gambling. I cannot relate to them.”
The PM went on to say that anyone receiving financial assistance from his government would find themselves cut off from the public teat if they were caught using those funds to gamble. Hun Sen urged local authorities to “take action to eliminate lottery dealers and gambling.”
Cambodian law forbids its citizens from gambling, although the country has issued 75 licenses for gambling venues serving foreign tourists. Ten of these licenses were issued one month ago, mostly in the Sihanoukville region to Chinese investors who are primarily focused on operating online live dealer casinos catering to their countrymen back home.
The Phom Penh Post claims these Sihanoukville live dealer operations have led to an influx of Chinese workers into the region, as Chinese language skills are a must for communicating with the majority of the sites’ customers.
A local hotel owner claimed that one Chinese outfit had leased the 38-room DD Mark II hotel to house its workers, who work “24/7 in three or four shifts.” A nearby guesthouse has been rented to house the actual live dealer casino operations.
This kind of setup is actually illegal, as Cambodian law requires live dealer operations to be housed inside a licensed gaming venue. Opposition lawmaker Son Chhay suggested these operators may have “bribed the government oficials to not arrest them or stop their business from operating.”
Another group of Chinese investors is reportedly plowing $50m into their local live dealer operations. The group plans to install casinos in the White Sand Palace and Golden Sand hotels and is reportedly converting many of the White Sand Palace’s 300 rooms into “mini online gaming rooms” with separate broadband internet connections.
Perfectly poised to capitalize on this boom is Cambodian casino operator Start Live Casino, which recently began streaming live dealer games from its Lucky89 and Lucky Ruby casinos in Svay Rieng province. Start Live Casino has developed all its technology in-house and is likely sniffing around Sihanoukville for potential new clients as we speak.