Asian casino operator NagaCorp Limited has reportedly been told that it will not be given permission to build a proposed $350 million non-gambling entertainment development adjacent to Cambodia’s world-renowned Angkor Wat temple complex.
According to a report from GGRAsia, the Hong Kong-listed firm was granted a 50-year lease on a 185-acre plot of land near the world-renowned religious site in November and had been hoping to open the first stage of its Angkor Lake of Wonder project by the end of 2025. The source detailed that plans for the coming property had called for it to feature multiple hotels and meeting spaces in addition to a water park, street food restaurants and a plethora of cultural attractions.
However, Cambodia’s Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has now reportedly ruled that the envisioned development must not be realized in its current form because it would sit only ‘about 500 metres south of’ the UNESCO World Heritage List site and could ‘have an impact on the outstanding universal value’ of the 12th Century complex.
In refusing to sign off on the NagaCorp Limited scheme and Gambling Insider reported that the Cambodian ministry was agreeing with a February determination UNESCO publicized following discussions with the multi-national International Coordinating Committee for Angkor preservation and development organization. This source explained that the United Nations body had criticized the proposed project’s conservation and sustainability credentials alongside ‘the scale, scope and concept of the planned activities.’
Reportedly read the ruling from UNESCO…
“The proximity of the project to the protected buffer zones of the site as well as the scale, scope and concept of the planned activities could indeed have an impact on the outstanding universal value for which Angkor Wat was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.”
Cambodia’s Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has now reportedly released a judgement proclaiming that that it shares the concerns of UNESCO and the International Coordinating Committee for Angkor in that the current plans for the proposed Angkor Lake of Wonder ‘cannot be implemented in this context’.
For its part and NagaCorp Limited is already responsible for the Phnom Penh’s giant NagaWorld development and it inked a deal a little over a year ago that extended the exclusivity clause contained within its Cambodian casino license until the end of 2045. This arrangement is ultimately set to cost the operator $40 million but will prohibit any other firm from opening a gambling-friendly venue within a 124-mile radius of the capital city.
NagaCorp Limited reportedly stated in November that its coming Angkor Lake of Wonder project was set to be ‘a comprehensive non-gaming integrated world-class resort’ that would help to promote Angkor Wat and the nearby city of Siem Reap as international tourist destinations. The operator furthermore purportedly pronounced that the envisioned venue’s location would allow overseas visitors to ‘enjoy and experience the world-famous ancient temples of Angkor Wat’ while simultaneously availing themselves of the amenities offered by its 16-story NagaWorld at ‘the most competitive price.’