Online gambling busts threaten Sihanoukville’s gaming renaissance

Cambodia’s coastal town of Sihanoukville, a sleepy place popular among backpackers and expats looking to escape the frenetic pace of the capital, has long been a gateway to some of Cambodia’s most prized beaches. Hotel and travel companies have capitalized on the popularity of the nearby islands and coast, leaving investment in the main city largely neglected. Recently, however, that has changed. There has been a surge in China-driven interest in the hotel and casino industry in the city itself, helped by the introduction of online gambling.   Ministry of Economy and Finance spokesman Ros Phirun says in the last year investment from the Chinese has more than doubled the number of licensed casinos operating in Sihanoukville from 7 to 15, with five licenses pending approval. Many of the casinos are integrated into hotels, which are opening rapidly to take advantage of rising visitor numbers and increased flight connections. One of the largest properties...

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