For almost three decades, since the end of a bloody civil war, casinos and gambling have been a big part of Cambodia’s rebuilding efforts. Cambodian citizen are not allowed to gamble and the $25 million that was raked in per year proved to be a significant boost to its economy. This however looks to change as bordering countries are changing their stance on gambling.
The Economist reports that, in a country with the lowest GDP in South-East Asia, casino revenues are threatened by Vietnam’s effort to allow gambling as well. For decades all punters from the South-East Asian region were drawn to Cambodia, as it was the only country that accepted their action. This is no longer the case and new casino projects in Cambodia are struggling to turn a profit.
The people of Cambodia love to gamble themselves as well, but for now it doesn’t seem like they will be allowed into local casinos. The minimum wage in Cambodia is $100 per month, and gambling is the last thing those people need in their lives. In a country like Singapore casinos are for foreigners as well, but wealthy locals can buy a year-round pass for $1,600 or one-day access for $80. A system like this might be interesting for Cambodians as well, as wealthy locals should be allowed to play many think.
Naga, the biggest local casino, has been considering a big expansion, which also includes the purchase of an Airbus A320s to fly in high rollers from Macau and mainland China.