Cambodia’s politically connected casinos to run cockfighting

Casinos owned by ruling Cambodian People’s Party Senator Ly Yong Phat have been granted authorization to run cockfighting tournaments even though the sport was banned in the Kingdom in 2009.

The senator owns two casinos in Koh Kong and Oddar Meanchey provinces, according to the Phnom Penh Post.

Yong Phat requested permission to run a number of new gambling operations out of his casinos, including cockfighting, on September 4, the report said. He received a response on Sept. 15 that said Deputy Prime Minister Sok An had approved the request, which had also been reviewed by Premier Hun Sen, it added.

The fights will take place on the grounds of the casinos.

The nationwide ban appears to have driven gambling on cockfights underground. The bloodsport can trace its roots in Cambodia as far back as the 12th Century.