Cambodian Commercial Gambling Management Commission (CGMC) confirmed that by September 2023, the number of issued licenses to casinos operating in Cambodia had dropped to 87, after more than 200 had been operating pre-pandemic.
Mr Khim, Deputy Director of Legal Affairs and Licensing Department for the Cambodian Commercial Gambling Management Commission (CGMC) confirmed at the 2023 IAG Academy Summit that the main factor was the change in laws to gambling which completely altered the investments and development in Sihanoukville and the Law on the Management of Integrated Resorts and Commercial Gambling (LMCG), which came into effect in 2021, placed stricter controls on the casino and gambling industry.
The number of legally issued licences by the CGMC under the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) numbered in the 70s by mid-2022. A list of license renewal recipients indicated that casinos are operating in the following provinces: Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey, Svay Rieng, Kampot, Pailin, and Preah Sihanouk province.
2021 Gaming Law In Cambodia
Khim said “Previously the amount of casinos in Cambodia was a lot more than this. Under the previous law we could not easily cut the number of casinos that used to invest in Cambodia, but under this new law we have strict conditions around requirements. The government has been cutting [licenses] step by step based on their capital because under the new law, casinos must have capital of USD $100 million to start with for a normal casino and for an integrated resort (hotel rooms and other amenities) it must be USD $200 million.”
The laws were also was written to curb the booming casino industry when it increasingly served the online gambling market at the time.
The evidence is clear that many casinos could not meet the requirements but the drop off in tourism and the restrictions caused by the global pandemic would have also been contributing factors – especially as Cambodian citizens mostly are not legally allowed to gamble at the licensed casinos.
- The LMCG segmented Cambodia into three gaming zones where gaming is either prohibited, permitted or favoured.
- A new tax on gross gaming revenues of 4% for VIP and 7% for mass market gaming was introduced.
- Casino operators must also declare their gross gaming revenues (GGR) and pay monthly taxes to the General Department of Taxation (GDT).
Casino owners in the Kingdom who had already secured operational licenses before the gambling law came into effect also had to meet the capital requirements in order to renew their licenses. All Cambodian casinos must renew their licenses annually.