Cambodia is about to put a stop to all online gambling activities by Dec. 31, and enter the new year with no options for online players. According to a government spokesman, there will be no operations related to gambling on the web as of Jan. 1.
The initiative to stop all online gambling services is not new. In fact, Ros Phearun, the Finance Ministry representative stated that the Prime Minister Hun Sen made a directive in August, as lawmakers started working on the process of taking away all licenses for online gambling from operators.
They said that the process would be completed by the end of 2019, and it seems that they have stayed true to their task.
Hun Sen confirmed this past weekend when he told the audience at a local festival that online gambling would “completely disappear.” According to the directive issued in August, no new licenses will be available, and the old ones will expire starting January 2020.
Why The Change?
There’s a good reason why the officials want to prevent online gambling. Namely, some of the operators used this as a way to launder money, according to Phearun. By shutting them down, the country of Cambodia will significantly lower the money-laundering operations.
Although shutting down is not the answer to such operations, the country currently lacks proper technical capabilities to ensure that all operators are abiding by their regulatory obligations.
The majority of licenses for casinos in the past two years were issued for operations in Sihanoukville, which are mainly run by Chinese. According to VOA, local authorities will monitor the operations there to make sure that all of the changes proposed by the government are in order and take place.
In other words, all casinos in Sihanoukville will be closely monitored by the authorities who will make sure that none of them has online services.
The Number of Casinos Is Lowering
Phearun stated to Khmer Times that there are a total of 141 casinos currently operating in Cambodia, which is less than there were in June when 163 casinos were reported. The casinos that were shut down were mainly operated by Chinese operators.
Out of the remaining casinos, a total of 89 are offering their services on the web, and 72 of them are said to be in Sihanoukville. According to Phearun, his team will not even wait until Jan. 1 to see which casinos still operate. In fact, they planned to start cracking down on them on Dec. 21.
Although many Cambodians support the government, there are some who are do not believe that the government could manage to pull that off. The Cambodian government already tried to close a land-based casino back in June, which pumped raw sewage into the sea.
On top of that, the casino operated without a license for more than a year. After that, it simply ignored the shutdown order for three months.
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