Cambodia is a country in southeast Asia. It borders Vietnam to the east, Laos to the north-east, Thailand to the north and west, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest.
The gambling industry in Cambodia has a reputation for being one of the most complicated across legal systems worldwide. Back in the early days of the 21st century, land-based gambling had already established itself as a legal, regulated and growing industry. Bear in mind, though, that the only ones eligible to enjoy these services were tourists – practically non-residents of the country. While locals were formally banned from such establishments, the actual situation speaks to the contrary with many operators allowing them free access.
As for interactive online gambling, operators were prohibited from offering their gaming content on the territory of Cambodia, regardless of the target audience. Still, these activities were even less restricted in practice, as offshore and onshore types of platforms freely circulated the web and allowed any interested player to play.
... attempts have been made to regulate the industry more closely, with much more specific laws on both legalization and prohibition.
For one, the land-based gambling industry has been addressed through a Bill proposed by government in order to further regulate the opening of new casino facilities, as well as changing the tax rate.
Under the new law, more operators could enter the country, and along with the older ones, would be subject to a tax rate on their GGR. The last thing that has been heard on the topic of taxation is that the rate would be approximately 4-5% of the gross wins.
Interactive, online gambling operations needed even more attention from lawmakers in order to ultimately regulate and legalize the practice. However, instead of an overall solution, it was the Council of Ministers that took the first step by authorizing the LYP Group to provide online gambling services through two of their licensed land-based casino establishments.
As for the oldest existing gambling segment in Cambodia’s industry – lottery, further progress was achieved through the invention of Khmer Pool. Pool thought of an instant game management and prize claiming system that would make it easier for lottery operators to manage the sale of tickets for each draw, and to distribute the cash prizes afterwards. Ace Metro, a subsidiary under China LotSynergy, is the company behind the endeavour, intended to continue development and proper implementation of this mechanism on their territory.
Speaking of which, Cambodia gambling was slowly moving towards progress. While the aforementioned technology only saw its onset in the early days of 2016, by May, the selection of interactive lottery platforms looking for such automation solutions was richer by one.
CooTel launched an interactive lottery platform KhmerLottery, and additionally announced their potential expansion following the initial success of their first product offering – online lottery.
As mentioned earlier, there is no official licensing process for foreign gambling sites in Cambodia. However, because they have already regulated state-owned land-based casinos, some of their licenses have been extended to cover online gambling services. Limits do exist, both in terms of the games they can offer and the number of online casinos that have been authorized to do this, but the industry is slowly moving forward.
With that said, for a long time, the authorities have only shown interest in boosting the economy with the revenue generated from the gaming tourism, and none in regulating the online industry for their residents, choosing instead to keep it off-limits.
Overall, the components of what it would take to get legislation going to do this were all available, but hardly anyone was willing enough to pick up the ball and run with it. By mid-2018, the Cambodian government ultimately weighed in the pros and cons of this industry and are since engaged towards prepping staff, having meetings and workshops and drafting bills in order to properly regulate the industry.
Whenever there's a lack of licensing in a country, there's going to be a lack of government protection simply because there is no framework in place to handle the actual protection. This is the case in Cambodia.
Players are free to play with foreign gambling sites...
...and there have been no real measures to stop that. However, players are mainly advised against it, as these offshore operators would not be subject to Cambodia legislation, had any existed in its entirety.
Thus, most players – tourists and locals alike – are predominantly advised to pay great attention in their choice of operator. It is recommendable to choose from those that have built a name in the global interactive gambling industry over the ones with the biggest bonuses. Playing at a reputable site and ensuring protection of their player information and funds is ultimately much more rewarding than any seemingly attractive promotion.
Nearby RestrictionsLaos Philippines Singapore Thailand Viet Nam
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