The government of Cambodia has reportedly revealed that only ten percent of the nation’s licensed casinos were open at the end of last month owing to a continuing coronavirus-related drop in international tourism.

According to a Tuesday report from The Phnom Penh Post newspaper, the first-half information from the Economy and Finance Ministry’s Commercial Gambling Committee showed that a mere 20 casinos were welcoming punters as of June 30. The source also detailed that this startling revelation comes some seven months after the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen began advocating for the full re-opening of the Asian country’s tourism industry following the significant disruption of the coronavirus pandemic.

Reduced receipts:

The newspaper reported that this scarcity of open casinos meant that the nation earned only about 8% of the about $43.55 million in yearly aggregated commercial gambling revenues mandated by its Law on the Management of Integrated Resorts and Commercial Gambling. This piece of legislation was purportedly ratified in November of 2020 and moreover obliges local gambling-friendly establishments to re-apply for their licenses on an annual basis.

Rolling requests:

Ros Phearun serves as a Deputy Director within the Economy and Finance Ministry and he reportedly told The Phnom Penh Post that 129 of the nation’s collection of 200 licensed casinos had recently reapplied for their certifications although the Commercial Gambling Committee has so far approved only 13. He furthermore noted that the nation’s aggregated first-half revenues from raffle and lottery games had come in around 24% below the legislation-mandated threshold.

Phearun reportedly told the newspaper…

“We’ve seen that local tourists are taking trips but international tourism, on which the commercial gambling sector depends, remains limited especially in border areas with Thailand and Vietnam that have only just recently opened. Commercial gambling operations have just resumed, leading to slow revenue collection.”

Measured optimism:

The Chairman for Cambodia chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, Thourn Sinan, reportedly told The Phnom Penh Post that he welcomed the widespread re-opening of the country’s casino industry as this would help to attract more international tourists. This revival purportedly included the nation’s prominent Star Vegas Resort and Club as the property operated by Donaco International Limited again began welcoming punters from June 18 following an almost 26-month shutdown.

A statement from Sinan reportedly read…

“The resumption of casino operations will lure more tourists to gamble, which is a driving force for the tourism sector.”

Decided depression:

However, The Phnom Penh Post reported that Cambodia now has a long way to climb after last year experiencing a sequential plunge in international tourist arrivals of almost 85% to just 196,495. This was purportedly accompanied by a 90.6% drop in the number of associated outbound trips to a mere 30,517 while domestic journeys fell by 35.5% to approximately 4.6 million.