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Casinos Shut, Jobs Lost as Cambodia Bans Online Gambling

Since the ban on online gambling in August around 7000+ Cambodians have lost jobs while dozens of casinos are closed down. There are more losses to be expected when the government officials announce to begin inspections on Tuesday.

The coastal city of the south, Sihanoukville, was a hub for gambling and several dozens of Chinese owned casinos that have flourished along with an elaborate setup of online gambling operations.

In the Prime Minister Hun Sen’s statement this week, he said that he would ban online gambling permanently after the first announcement in August claiming that this industry had been misused by foreign offenders to extort money.

Ros Phearun the deputy director-general of the Finance Ministry’s financial industry department told Reuters that officials will begin the inspection of all the casinos in the country on January 1st to check whether they have shut down their online operations.

Ros Phearun even further said that government might face revenue hard hit since online gambling contributes around 1/4th of the $80 million per year estimate which comes in the form of taxes from these casinos. After the ban, most of them went back to their own countries

After the announcement in August, a huge number of casinos goes shut with only 136 casinos left nationwide by December. That number is expected to further go down to only 94 casinos left nationwide by the end of this January.

According to Yov Khemara, the director of Sihanoukville labour department, more than 7,700 locals lost their jobs after the ban. These people used to work as labour in factories and shifted to casinos as there were better opportunities in casinos. Now most of them are again back to working in factories as only around 36 of 70 casinos are left in Sihanoukville.

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