15 December 2012

Slightly Interesting Cambodian Facts (10): Cambodian Casinos

Despite there being 62 casinos in Cambodia,
Naga World maintains the exclusive right to
operate in Phnom Penh.
Cambodia has 62 licensed casinos.

That's an astonishingly large number for a country where the locals themselves are not legally able to enter a casino and place a wager.*

Compare that number to neighbouring Thailand which doesn't have any legal casinos, (although there are countless operating semi-secretly under the protection of corrupt police or military officers) and Vietnam which has just four legal gambling establishments.(As in Cambodia only foreigners can legally gamble in Vietnam)

Just one of these 62 betting joints- Naga World- is to be found in Phnom Penh (the negotiations to stitch up the exclusive and lucrative rights to operate a casino in the capital city must have been murky).

Poipet has the highest number of Cambodian casinos; sitting right on the border, Thai gamblers arrive by the bus load to chance their arms, legally, in such places as the Ho Wah Genting, or the Star Vegas International.

Casinos can also be found along the Vietnam-Cambodia border. Here, according to Cambodian police, most casino-related crime takes place with the casinos often employing thugs to deal out vigilante-style 'justice' to cheats, trouble-makers or to those who have just won too much.

* Whilst it is illegal for Cambodians to gamble in their own country, outside Phnom Penh's Naga World there is a constant jam of the luxury vehicles of Cambodian government officials and rich businessmen; their drivers idle away their time outside, while their bosses enter unimpeded and lay down their bets.

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