First-half gaming tax revenue was just over eight per cent of the amount required by Cambodia’s budget law.
Cambodia.- Despite being one of the first countries in the region to reopen its borders, Cambodia is still struggling with a lack of tourists in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, the Cambodian government’s revenue from commercial gambling in the first half of 2022 was well below expectations.
According to The Phnom Penh Post, as of June 30, only 20 of the more than 200 casinos licensed in or after 2021 were operating. That pushed down first-half state income collection from the sector to just over eight per cent of the amount required by country’s budget law.
The Law on the Management of Integrated Resorts and Commercial Gambling (LMCG) enacted in November 2020 requires the government to take KHR174.2bn (US$43.55m) in revenue from the gambling sector and that casinos renew their licences every year.
In May, Ros Phearun, deputy director-general at the Finance Ministry’s Financial Industry Department pointed out that some operators with casinos in border areas, including in the towns of Poipet and Bavet, had not yet applied to renew their licences.
Phearun told The Phnom Penh Post: “We’ve seen that local tourists are taking trips, but international tourism remains limited, on which the commercial gambling sector depends, 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.”