Latest decree could pressure Cambodian casinos

Vietnam’s latest decree allowing its citizens to place bets on international sporting events could cut into Cambodian casino revenues, a government official said on Monday.

“Changes in Vietnam gambling laws will lead to increased competition for Cambodia’s casinos and will likely affect local businesses,” explained Ros Phirun, deputy director of the finance industry department at Cambodia’s Ministry of Economy and Finance. “Cambodia’s casinos have been typically operating without much immediate regional competition.”

The deputy director, quoted by Phnom Penh Post, however said he could only speculate on the impact to Cambodia’s land-based casinos.

“For Cambodian casinos, we allow all types of games online and that includes live betting, sports and lottery,” he said. “While it is still a relatively new market it attracts a lot of Vietnamese gamers.”

Phirun however quickly added that Cambodian operators were far from dependent on Vietnamese gamblers.

Last Friday, the Vietnamese government announced a pilot programme taking effect March 31, 2017, which allows Vietnamese citizens over the age of 21 to place bets on international football matches as well as horse and dog racing.

The latest decree follows on from the relaxation of Vietnam’s long-standing ban on casino gambling, with locals allowed to enter two selected casinos in the country starting March 15.