A heretofore unheard of Malaysian company has plans to buy up every available land plot in the West Port free economic zone of Sihanoukville, Cambodia and create a “casino city” to rival Macau. According to a promotional video the company released on Youtube, in addition to “bulk acquiring every potential development lot” in Sihanoukville, it is also “purchasing existing hotels for renovation and equipping them with gaming licences,”the narrator said.
SV International was incorporated in December and has already received approvals from Cambodia’s Council of Ministers to operate casinos, online gaming, massage parlors, nightclubs, karaoke clubs and dog racing. The government approvals went to the company’s Cambodian operating unit, Salient Ventures on March 1.
Among the local properties identified for partnership with the newly formed company, the phnompenhpost reports the Majestic Hotel casino and Golden Royal Hotel and Casino are on board. The Majestic Hotel casino’s owner Ly Koung told the outlet that they have a deal with Salient Ventures to accept players from Singapore and Malaysia that the company sends their way. He also expressed that he remains cautious. Koung said the company plans to bring a lot of foreign tourists into the area and they are looking for more casino partners in the city. The promotional video claims there are currently 15 casinos in the Sihanoukville.
Ros Phirum, spokesman for the Economics and Finance Ministry reportedly confirmed to the outlet that Salient Ventures has been given a green light but added that they have yet to submit any applications for casino licenses.
Secretary of state for the Interior Ministry, Em Som An added another note of caution when he confirmed the company has a building in the city and have received policy approval to run casinos. He tempered that affirmation with, “Normally, investors claim to have big projects, but whether it is possible or not – we do not know much,” he said.
Earlier this week in an unrelated development, Macau’s Jimei International announced to the Hong Kong stock Exchange that they had completed a framework agreement with a joint venture partner in Cambodia and a major Chinese construction firm to create an entertainment resort complex in or near the city. Local media are reporting that project is part of an on again off again development on land conceded to Chinese interests in Preah Sihanouk’s Ream National Park under controversial terms in 2009. The concession was reportedly revoked in 2011 but the company now denies such revocation took place. A year ago human rights and other groups claimed that a company then identified as Union Development Group removed villagers with military assistance and destroyed as many as 1,500 homes without due compensation.