Cambodia leaders must be rethinking the online gambling ban policy after its 2020 budget took a big hit. Finance Minister Aun Pornmoniroth and other members of the government tackle the plan to cancel licenses of all online gambling firms by the end of 2019. Also, they tackle the nation’s 2020 budget.
In August, Prime Minister Hun Sen gave out a directive that stops the issuance of new licenses for online gambling operations. Also, the government will not renew existing licenses. As a result, bookie pay per head firms can’t operate in the country next year.
The Prime Minister issued the directive to protect public order, social order, and security of the country. Also, it is to appease China, whose citizens are targeted by the online gambling operators in Cambodia.
Online Gambling Ban in Cambodia
In 2018, the government collected $50 million from the casino industry. The ministers expect the government to collect the same amount this year. However, the amount will drop in 2020 because of the government’s ban on pay per head bookie service and other online gambling firms.
The Ministry of Finance told bookie pay per head reporters that it issued 215 gaming licenses before the ban. It was a significant increase from the 150 issued in 2018. Also, it is unclear how many of the 2018 licenses were active. In addition, most of the licenses issued were for operations located in Preah Sihanouk Province.
Chinese nationals run most of the gambling operations in Sihanoukville. Most of them left the region after the announcement of the gambling ban. Although Cambodia needs Chinese investment, they will not accept those for online gambling. Also, the ministry will work on a new system for the province to attract new investors.
Aside from the 2020 budget, the Chinese exodus affected other aspects of the Cambodian economy. In fact, real estate values in Sihanoukville, Bavet, and Poipet experienced a steep devaluation.