Macau and Las Vegas are two of the biggest casino hubs in the world, which makes the process of applying and getting approval for a casino license an extremely long one. The Cambodian government is hoping that it can use this to its advantage by welcoming wealthy investors from Macau and Las Vegas who are interested in setting up new casinos in Cambodia.
During the last couple of years, the Cambodian government has put an emphasis on developing its casino industry and has made the process for obtaining a license and developing a casino property as easy as possible. This is because Cambodia’s casino industry continues to do well and generate significant revenue for the government.
A new tax bill, that has a number of attractive benefits for the casino industry, has been put forth and already been checked by both the ministry of finance and the ministry of interior and economy. The bill will now be sent for approval to the ministers of both these departments and then be presented to the Cabinet. There will be a time frame imposed on this approval process to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays before finally being submitted to the council of Ministers for approval.
In a statement, Ros Phearun, deputy director general of the ministry’s finance industry department, said “When the law is enacted, we will not only be able to double revenue from the industry but also open the market to direct investment from major investors. The legislation is not only good for tax revenue but also to attract more foreign visitors.”
The decline of Macau’s gambling industry has turned out to be profitable for casinos in Cambodia as they have attracted large numbers of tourists from Mainland China and a significant portion of them spend their time at the casinos. Cambodia wants to take advantage of this and has put in motion a five year plan that looks to boost tourism numbers to 7.5 million global tourists before 2020. Out of this number, the government would like a minimum of 2 million tourists to come from Mainland China.
Hong Kong based NagaCorp operates the largest casino in Cambodia and has an outstanding year in 2015. When casino markets across the world were struggling, Cambodia’s casino industry thrived and NagaWorld recorded a twenty seven percent revenue increase when compared to 2014. The company estimates that it paid only two percent in taxes to the Cambodian government based on its overall revenue.
Phearun remains positive that the new tax bill will receive approval and be rolled out before the end of 2016 and that the tax rates on the casino industry will not be hiked. As of now, there are seventy casinos operating in Cambodia with the possibility of another eight being added as they have already applied for a casino license.