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Cambodia Is Getting Ready to Ban Online Gambling
- December 31, 2019 By Riley Wilson -
Cambodia is getting ready to ban online gambling early next year, with the country’s Prime Minister Hun Sen once again pointing out the intention of his government to make such a move.
According to Sen, Cambodia’s growing online gambling sector hasn’t brought good to the country’s economy.
A Somewhat Surprising Decision
The news about the government’s plan to shut down online gambling emerged in August when local media reported that Sen had already signed a directive ordering all iGaming operators doing business in Cambodia to pack their bags and leave by the end of 2019.
At the same time, the corresponding government agencies simply stopped granting new licenses for online gambling operators. Commenting on the decision to enforce this ban, the Prime Minister said the country was too dependent on the online gambling sector. Instead, he further said, the government wanted to pay more attention to the development of tourism, which would have a more positive impact on the local economy.
Last week, during the opening ceremony of the local Sea Festival, the Prime Minister once again stated the government would proceed with the ban of online gambling in Cambodia.
Money Laundering Was the Biggest Issue
The country’s current licensing system was modelled after the one used in the Philippines, attracting business from mainland China, which legally opened their shops in Cambodia to provide remote services to their customers.
Under the provisions of the Cambodian law, these operators weren’t allowed to offer its services to domestic players, although a number of them have broken this rule on numerous occasions.
Experts fear the impact the departure of Chinese gambling business would severely hurt the country’s economy. On the other hand, the Prime Minister said the damage would be greater if online gambling operations continue, even calling the remote gambling industry “a threat to the nation’s security”.
Sen pointed out that gambling online was often linked to money laundering, and if this practice continues there is a real possibility that Cambodia would become a haven for this illegal activity. He also stated the ban would be imposed within the next couple of days.