Cambodia creates new gov’t body to oversee casinos


cambodia-casino-money-laundering-oversightCambodia’s government is vowing to impose tighter restrictions on the country’s casinos in preparation for passage of new gaming laws next year.

On Saturday, Cambodia Daily reported that Prime Minister Hun Sen had signed a sub-decree on November 27 that created two new Interior Ministry departments under the National Police’s central security department. One of these departments will be tasked with combating money laundering and other crimes at the nation’s gambling venues.

Casinos will be subject to this new “anti-commercial gambling department,” whose responsibilities will include the “research, investigation and suppression of money laundering offenses related to gambling in casinos and entertainment clubs.” The new body will also seek to prevent the undefined category of “targeted people forbidden from gambling” from entering gambling venues.

Cambodia is reportedly putting the finishing touches on new gaming legislation, which promises higher taxes, greater financial oversight and vague suggestions of centralizing online gambling payment processing through government-managed servers.

The Cambodian government’s last official count put the country’s total number of licensed casinos at 65, most of which are based in border towns serving punters from Vietnam and Thailand.

Last week, the Phnom Penh Post reported that Bavet’s small gaming halls were struggling to attract their normal volume of customers. City hall administrator Pen Phearun said hotel and casino owners were trimming their payrolls because “there have been very few guests coming to stay and entertain themselves there.”

Ho Vandy of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents said Bavet’s casino clientele have “become tired of the repetitive recreational activities.” Vandy called on the government and investors to “think of new ways to entertain tourists.” Like a ‘Jurassic’ theme park, maybe.

It likely won’t entertain any tourists, but Bavet casino operator Glorywin Entertainment Group has decided to gussy up its image by changing its name to the inspiring handle of Top Honesty Group Inc. In addition to operating the Chateau de Bavet casino, Glorywin/Top Honesty has a thriving junket business providing VIP clients to approximately 25 online sub-junkets and also provides technical support to Cambodian online gaming operators.