Sihanoukville, Cambodia’s southern coastal city, will soon turn into the country’s leading casino hub. Amid the opportunity, the ongoing influx of Chinese investment capital has been beyond expectations.
A spokesperson from the Ministry of Finance Ros Phirun confirmed that Sihanoukville currently has 16 operational casinos while nine more are expected to open in 2018. He added the Chinese-backed gaming operators have pounced on the idea of live-streaming action from land-based tables to gambling enthusiasts in other countries. After a new high-speed internet submarine cable was installed earlier this year, the local online industry seemed to have received a boost.
As of now, the government of Cambodia has issued 79 casino licenses until this year. Sihanoukville’s casino market is catching up with the gaming markets in Poipet and Bavet, which cater to enthusiasts streaming from Thailand and Vietnam, respectively.
The general manager of Sihanoukville’s Queenco Hotel and Casino, Aaron Ghini said that Sihanoukville would be "much bigger” than Cambodia’s other casino markets in next three years. Ghini added that gaming business is “very profitable today” and the group also plans to double its hotel capacity in the near future, to better compete with the city’s most prominent venue, the 490-room Sokha Beach Resort.
Currently, NagaWorld in the capital Phnom Penh is the country’s only truly resort-style gaming venue.
In the first nine months of 2017, Sihanoukville reported domestic and international tourist arrivals rising nearly one-quarter to 1.5 million. China accounted for 400k of the visitors.
Poipet and Bavet currently face threats due to border issues. The neighboring governments lifting bans on local residents’ gambling at home has also hurt the gaming market activity of the two cities. China, in all probability, safeguards Sihanoukville in that sense. Even if even if the country tries to curb package tours and gambling hubs, there’s always that handy online gambling safety value.