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Cambodia: Is this the Next Macau?

A decade ago, nobody would have dreamed that Macau would overtake Las Vegas as the top gambling destination in the world, and a few years later, it was Singapore that slipped into second place on the list. Could a third Asian destination now be moving to bump Vegas into fourth place?  If the government of Cambodia had any to do with it, we could very well see this happening.

A couple of years ago, Cambodia started regulating its gambling industry and the government decided to grant operating licenses only to those groups who met its high standards of fair gaming and transparency.  Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen made a decision, on the one hand, to improve modern technology so that the gambling industry could advance and keep up with international competition and, on the other hand, direct all the revenues from the industry to areas in society who needed them most such as health and education.

There are a number of reasons why it is not impossible to consider Cambodia to be the next Macau – or at least a location that moves in its direction.  Cambodia has the potential to meet the needs of Thai and Vietnamese gamblers as it shares a border with these two countries. Thailand, for example, has a significant group of rich ex-pat Chinese gamblers, who are unable to find what they are looking for in terms of gambling entertainment in their adopted country.  As such, players are able to travel less than four hours and play at new, modern casinos build by Cambodia, safe in the knowledge that they are not breaking any local laws and putting themselves in line to win super cash prizes.

The Cambodian government has found another ingenious way in attracting these players.  It has devised a system whereby they don’t require a passport to cross the border to play at the casinos.  They simply apply for a one day pass and they’ll be able to visit the casinos without any border problems.   Many casinos have been built near these border checkpoints, with ten at the checkpoint in Sa Kaeo alone.

It will be interesting to see how this Asian country will continue to develop its industry.

Posted in Las Vegas, Macau.

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