Cambodia’s largest casino operator NagaCorp plans to partially reopen its flagship Phnom Penh gaming venue on Wednesday, July 8 following its three-month COVID-19 shutdown.
On Monday, NagaCorp announced an agreement with Cambodia’s Ministry of Health that will see the company reopen its VIP table game and slot machine elements of its NagaWorld casino on Wednesday. Mass market gaming operations will reopen at an unspecified later date.
NagaCorp claims the agreement was signed with the government on June 30, four days prior to the government officially announcing its decision to permit the country’s casinos to reopen. The government ordered all casinos to close on April 1 in a bid to minimize COVID-19 transmission.
NagaWorld’s restart was subject to the Ministry approving certain health and safety measures, which reportedly occurred following a physical inspection of the casino on July 4. Slots capacity will be reduced to 50% while gaming tables will be limited to three customers apiece – effectively 43% capacity – and no ‘standing’ bets will be permitted.
NagaWorld’s food & beverage outlets have been okayed to operate at 50% capacity but the buffet is off-limits for the time being. Casino guests will be subject to temperature checks and must wear masks, while the property has also established five ‘isolation rooms’ in case any guests display signs of possible COVID-19 infection.
So far, Cambodia’s government has yet to authorize any similar reopenings for the dozens of casinos that populate the economic zones in border areas such as Bavet and Poipet, or for any gaming venues in Sihanoukville. A senior member of the Ministry of Economy and Finance told the Phnom Penh Post that “no other casino has submitted a letter asking to reopen because their owners have yet to prepare their establishments for it.”
NagaCorp’s official statement said the government was taking a “step-by-step approach” to restarting its casino industry and that NagaWorld’s reopening “shall serve as a template for application for reopening of business by other casinos, if there is any request for permission to reopen.”