Cambodia’s largest casino NagaWorld has been cleared to fully reopen its gaming operations following their lengthy COVID-19 shutdown.
On Sunday, the Hong Kong-listed NagaCorp reminded investors that Cambodia’s Ministry of Economy and Finance had cleared casinos to relaunch their gaming operations provided they conform to the health & safety rules set by the Ministry of Health.
NagaCorp, which relaunched VIP table game and slot machine operations at its flagship NagaWorld property in Phnom Penh nearly two weeks ago, said Sunday that its agreement with the Ministry of Health had been amended to permit NagaWorld to reopen “all of its casino businesses,” including mass market tables and electronic gaming.
Earlier this month, NagaCorp chairman Tim McNally told GGRAsia that NagaWorld had enjoyed “a very positive response” to its VIP reopening. McNally added that he anticipated “increased visitation” as word spread that the property was finally back in business after the country ordered all its casinos to close on April 1 to minimize further COVID-19 transmission.
Casinos in Cambodia’s special economic zones on its borders with Vietnam and Thailand have yet to indicate when their facilities might receive similar clearance to reopen. All Cambodian casinos are forbidden from allowing local residents to set foot on their gaming floors, leaving them dependent on foreign passport holders for gambling customers.
Earlier this month, the Khmer Times reported that foreign nationals were slowly returning to casino hotspots after fleeing the country following the casino lockdown. In Preah Sihanouk province, over 20k Chinese nationals had arrived via direct flights as of June, equal to about one-quarter of the 80k Chinese nationals who resided in the province prior to the lockdown.
The Poipet casino hub on the Thai border has reportedly welcomed back 10k Chinese nationals since Cambodia began easing travel restrictions in May. The government hopes that many development projects, including casinos, that were stalled following the pandemic restrictions will now get a second lease on life.