Cambodia has announced a ban on online gambling. The South-east Asian country has been battling with the increased influence of Chinese investors in its gambling industry and also the money extortion cases directed by offshore criminals.
According to the country’s Ministry of Finance, the Cambodian government has granted over 160 casino license to several gambling operators. This year alone, between January to April, Cambodia issued 13 casino licenses.
“The Royal Government of Cambodia will stop the issuance of online gambling policy and licenses, both within and outside of the Kingdom of Cambodia, from the date of signing this directive,” said a directive signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
“Some foreign criminals have taken refuge in the form of this gambling to cheat and extort money from victims, domestic and abroad, which affect the security, public order and social order,” the directive said.
Cambodia’s casino city of Sihanoukville has been the worst affected by the influx of Chinese investors who have set up multiple gambling facilities and offer online gambling to visitors from mainland China.
Moreover, with the mushrooming of such gambling houses, it is difficult to ensure compliance measures.
Earlier in June, a seven-story under-construction building collapsed in Cambodia’s casino town of Sihanoukville, killing at least 28 people. The under-construction building was an upcoming casino with Chinese investments.
Currently, there are around 50 Chinese-owned casinos and dozens of hotel complexes under construction in Sihanoukville.
Earlier this month, seven Chinese nationals were also charged over illegal online gambling in Cambodia.