Cambodia are currently finalising a draft for a new version of its gaming law which is to be reviewed by cabinet members by the end of September. The main motive of the draft is to increase Cambodia’s appeal to foreign casino operators by levying a 4-5% tax on total gaming revenue.
Cambodia currently issues 77 casino licences of which 65 are in use. The country has begun a gaming renaissance which in turn has increased tourism and state revenue. The new draft would set the tax levels at an internationally low level comparative to Singapore.
Speaking to the Khmer Times on Monday, Ros Phearun, Deputy Director of the Finance Ministry's Financial Industry department, said: “We got a lot of input for the draft law after many inter-ministerial and stakeholders’ meetings. The draft law which was finalised by joint technical teams from the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Interior will now be submitted to the government’s cabinet within this month.”
As discussions have occurred cross-party prior to the draft's submission, it is expected to receive little opposition by the time it reaches cabinet. The Cambodian government seem incredibly determined to sacrifice gaming tax revenue in return for tourism and increased foreign investment.
Another important factor of the draft is the proposed establishment of a government-run Gaming Management Committee. The role of the new government body would be to review potential money laundering schemes as well as the country’s internal financial controls.
Phearun added: “We really need to get this law off the ground fast because it will help us manage the industry better and also collect taxes. In addition, it will also attract more big investors into the industry and also bring in tourists.”
Managing Director of the Australian listed Donaco has already voiced the company’s interest in expanding into Cambodia. The company which operates numerous casinos including the Star Vegas Report will not be the only ones to be attracted by the low gaming tax and increased gaming political infrastructure.
The process of making the draft is not a simple one but again the time taken and the discussions that have occurred make it incredibly likely that Cambodia will soon be a huge new gaming market in South East Asia, a region which is seeing huge growth in the industry.
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