Cambodia’s new gaming bill has officially been signed into law.
Seven weeks after the National Assembly gave its nod of approval, and three weeks after being adopted by the Senate, Deputy Director of Cambodia’s Ministry of Economy and Finance, Ros Phirun, confirmed to Inside Asian Gaming that the Law on the Management of Integrated Resorts and Commercial Gambling (LMCG) was promulgated last Saturday and subsequently published by the Ministry, with the aim of promoting tourism, fostering economic growth and creating more job opportunities for local citizens.
“The purpose of this law is to ensure the management of integrated commercial gambling centers and commercial gambling to contribute to boosting economic growth, promoting tourism sector, creating jobs, collecting revenues, maintaining social safety and security by determining the competencies, rules and procedures for [the] management of integrated commercial gambling centers and commercial gambling, physical person’s and legal entity’s right and obligation to directly operate or participate in commercial gambling and determining the right as owner of integrated commercial gambling center and commercial gambling establishment, as well as establishing a standard for integrated commercial gambling center and commercial gambling of the Kingdom of Cambodia,” the law states.
Containing 12 Chapters and 97 Articles, it outlines a range of new regulatory controls including dividing Cambodia into three distinct gaming zones: Prohibited Zones where gaming is not allowed in any shape or form, Permitted Zones where operators such as NagaCorp already hold a gaming license, and Favored Zones such as the coastal provinces of Sihanouk and Koh Kong, which are now the only areas where new integrated resorts can be developed.
The LMCG will also set a new tax on gross gaming revenues of 4% on VIP and 7% on mass, while a regulatory body – dubbed the Integrated Resort Management and Commercial Gambling Committee – will be established comprising 11 government ministers.
While the law was passed quietly this week, Cambodia’s Minister for Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth said recently that it would provide measures to build greater capacity, including utilization of appropriate technology, to improve monitoring of casinos while assisting Cambodia’s casino industry to become competitive on a global scale.
“Regulations on the commercial gambling sector are designed to enable the sector to operate under the umbrella of transparent law,” Pornmoniroth said in October.
“Under the effort of the government and investor’s trust toward the government, some national and international investors started casino investment on the Cambodian-Thai border in the Poipet area in 1999.
“[It is] in the face of the increasing investment [that] the government has pushed for the management of the gambling sector.”