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Cambodia Looks For Casino Investors From Las Vegas & Macau

CambodiaThe Cambodian government is hoping to attract major casino operators from Macao and Las Vegas to invest in Cambodia’s casino industry once the new legislation for regulating casinos is passed this year. The new law is expected to benefit the casino industry in a major way.

According to a senior government official, the bill has already been checked by the ministries of Interior, and Economy and Finance and is ready to be submitted to the respective ministers for approval.

In a statement, Ros Phearun, deputy director general of finance from Cambodia’s Ministry of Economy and Finance said,

When the law is enacted, we will not only be able to double revenue from the industry but also open the market to direct investment from major investors. [The legislation] is not only good for tax revenue but also to attract more foreign visitors.

The timeframe to present the bill to the Ministers of the both the departments is to be decided by a joint-working group of officials. The bill will then be submitted to the Cabinet for approval before being finally presented to the Council of Ministers.

According to Mr. Phearun, the lack of legislation had been discouraging key operators from entering the casino industry in Cambodia. This bill is a part of Cambodia’s overall strategy which has been formulated in a five-year plan to develop its casino industry and increase tourism. An increase in the number of Chinese tourists in recent years has encouraged the government to set a target of attracting around 7.5 million international tourists by the end of 2020 and the Cambodia government expects 2 million of these tourists to come from Mainland China. In November we reported that Donaco International’s Star Vegas Resort was doing very well.

Media reports indicate that NagaCorp Ltd, the company that owns Cambodia’s largest casino NagaWorld, is expecting the new law to levy a gambling tax of 5 to 7 percent. Though this would be higher than the 2 percent that it is being currently charged currently, the company doesn’t expect the new tax laws to hinder its plans in the country.

Mr. Phearun has however said that the bill will not raise taxes for the industry. He added that it is being amended to make sure that it is in compliance with international standards.

Although it was scheduled to be approved during the first half of 2016, Mr. Phearun has expressed hope that the bill would be approved by the end of this year. The new law is expected to make Cambodia a more attractive investment opportunity for casino developers in Macau and Las Vegas.

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