Sihanoukville , Cambodia - 91 casinos in Cambodia have been shut down due to a ban on gambling in the country. This ban came into effect at the start of the New Year but has been talked about in the country since August of the previous year. The government announced a few months earlier that there will be no more renewing of existing licenses for gambling operators in the country. They also stated that new licenses won’t be issued as well.
This banning and subsequent shutdown of gambling outlets in Cambodia come at the heels of the news that foreign criminals use these online gambling portals for unsavory activities. It has been said that some use these portals for money laundering while others say that these are used to extort money from people. Whatever the case may be, the closure of online gambling in the country is seen as the solution to such a problem.
With the closure of more than 100 casinos since August, with some permits expiring before the end of the year and no renewals being made, around 7,000 people have become unemployed. Most of the casinos in Sihanoukville are run by Chinese but have locals as employees. These locals are the ones who will be suffering the brunt of this permanent closure.
The workers who are hit by this closure used to work in factories but shifted to casino work due to the bigger salaries and less strenuous workload. These people may now have to return to the old work they once had with lower pay and tougher work conditions.
It has also been said that these closures will also hurt government revenues since they earn around $80 million in taxes from these casinos, a quarter of which stems from online gambling. The steady decline in the number of online casinos from August till the end of 2019 has hit the industry hard, with only a few of the casinos now left standing and depending solely on income from their land-based outlets.