Casinos Boost Cambodia’s Tourism

The 15 million people of Cambodia already have 25 casinos but most are relatively small and located in what can only be considered “wild-west” border towns, delivering gambling to “hard-core” Vietnamese, Chinese and Thai gamblers.

Developers however are betting that the tiny Southeast Asian country, stabilizing after much political chaos during the 1970s, 80s and 90s, could be a bigger draw for high spending tourists and are pushing ahead with ambitious plans for larger, more luxurious hotels that will attract a better clientele.

ThansurBokor Highland Resort is among those planned developments, and it’s a 2 hour drive from Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital. With 418 rooms, shopping facilities and a convention center, the development by a Cambodian conglomerate called the Sokimex Group recently had a “soft opening”. One of the notable things about the new resort is its location along the edge of a cliff nearly 1100 m above sea level, where is often enveloped by cloud cover.

In the capital city the country’s most famous casino,Naga World, 220 rooms are being added to the 500 it already has, as well as 32 more gambling tables and 275 new slot machines. NagaCity Walk is also being planned, a tourist park that will include retailers like Rolex, Cartier and Piaget.

These bricks and mortar casino’s might even be ecplised by the online betting websites such as m88 vietnam or sbobetcambodia.

Sihanoukville is another possible location for a new gambling resort as it’s in the south of Cambodia on the coast, as well as what could possibly be the biggest prize of a location in the entire country, Siem Reap. The reason; Angkor Wat temple is located there, the most renowned tourist attraction in all of Cambodia.

Approximately $20 million in tax revenue was generated by casinos in 2013, the Cambodian government reported, a 25% increase from the year before. Government officials say that education and health are being helped greatly by the extra taxes and that newer, better ones will encourage more tourism.

Of course all around Cambodia the neighbors are seeing explosive gambling growth in the last few years including the Chinese territory of Macau where, in 2013, nearly $34 billion in gambling revenue was seen. For the record, that’s about five times what Las Vegas did in the same time. Since opening its first casinos in 2010, Singapore has already caught up with the Las Vegas Strip and the Philippines, with plans to open for casino resort in Manila, is looking to surpass the American gambling giant as well.

As for NagaWorld, it generated over $90 million last year and, analysts say, will generate more than that this year. The vast majority of the money came from tourists, including many from Vietnam.



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