A blanket ban on online gambling in Cambodia is already creating problems in the neighboring Philippines.
In Mid-August, Cambodia banned online gambling through a directive signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen which read: “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.”
Following the announcement of the gambling ban in the country, what we have witnessed so far is a mass exodus of the Chinese nationals. The estimate figures released by the Ministry of Interior reveals that about 120,000 Chinese nationals have left the country in a matter of weeks.
In the neighboring Philippines, this mass exodus of the Chinese has raised concerns about potential and probable influx of foreign Chinese workers. It should be noted that the Philippines is already at odds with China as Beijing has called for banning all online gambling activities in the Philippines, the sector which employs maximum Chinese workers.
The labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines on Monday expressed concerns over the influx of Chinese workers in the aftermath of the exodus triggered by the surprising blanket ban on online gambling.
The TUCP president is reported to have called for a separate and specialist body to tackle the issue which he fears can dramatically impact the domestic offshore online gambling industry.
Moreover, while the exodus of Chinese casino workers from Cambodia continue, the authorities in the Cambodian gambling hub Sihanoukville have warned 10 building owners of legal action as they have failed to comply with the demolition orders issued earlier.
In Cambodia, online gambling licenses are granted for a period of one year. With the Prime-ministerial directive restricting issuing of any new online gambling license, by August 2020, once the current licenses expire, there would be no licensed online gambling operator in the country.
However, it is yet to be seen if this is an absolute ban which it seems to be. In a recent interview with the Asian Review, Ros Phearun, deputy director-general of Cambodia’s Ministry of Economy and Finance said that they are not sure whether it is an absolute ban or not. He said that one should see the first draft as of now.