Cambodia collects $37.4m in taxes from casinos in nine months

By Caroline Watson
Due to improved collection efforts, Cambodia received a total of $37.4m in taxes from casinos since the start of 2016. According to a finance ministry report issued on Tuesday, this is up 35.5% over the same period last year, which is also higher than the $34.7m the government collected in all of 2015.

The implementation of the government’s new strategy to boost revenue by improving the transparency, efficiency and equity of the tax system, and monitoring tax collection more closely, has created a notable increase in tax take.

Whilst some 69 casinos have been operating in this region as of 30 September, NagaWorld Casino in Phnom Penh accounted for $16m, nearly 50% of the total tax revenue. This casino is currently required to pay only 2% tax on its gaming revenue.

Ros Phirun, Deputy Director-general of the finance industry department at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, commented on the change of base rate for NagaWorld: “Now their business operation is fully functional, both in gaming and non-gaming operations. Because of that, they have agreed to pay us a new revised tax rate.”

“With this new revised tax for NagaWorld’s business operation, we hope to collect more tax soon when they launch their Naga2. But we have to wait and see the reality, first.”

Cambodia’s opposition politicians have repeatedly slammed the government for not demanding casino operators to contribute a larger share to government coffers. Nonetheless, the problem has been compounded in the past when casinos have not bothered to pay their taxes.

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