Ban on Online Gambling and Reduced Tax Contributions: Cambodia Braces for 2020 Budget Hit

Finance Minister of Cambodia, Aun Pornmoniroth, has recently warned the government of gambling tax contributions, which are significantly going to be decreased from the upcoming year owing to the latest ban on online gambling. The warnings came from Pornmoniroth, this week, when he met the president of the Cambodian Youth Party alongside a member of the nation’s Supreme Consultative Council, Pich led, with the aim of discussing the 2020 budget.

In the meeting, the nation’s finance minister said that their government had earned “considerable amount in tax revenue from the casino industry” and those contributions are on the verge of a steady decline as a result of the nationwide online gambling ban. Last year, the country’s government had reportedly collected tax revenue of more than $50 million from gambling services conducted on the territory over the internet, and the amount is expected to remain almost the same in 2019.

Despite the expected reduced contributions to the national budget, the chief purpose of the ban, according to Pornmoniroth, was to prevent unscrupulous businesses from operating in Cambodia. He also emphasized upon bringing back the nation’s economic stability as a major factor, which finally led to the banning of gambling activities within the territory.

Cambodia, over the last few years, has turned out to be a boon for Chinese investors who offer different gaming and sports betting services to thousands of Asian customers, by exploiting the country’s online gambling licensing system. Foreign investors were required to officially operate land-based casinos within the country in order to obtain remote gaming licenses. This resulted in the rapid increase of brick-and-mortar gambling establishments in and around Cambodia.

To address the situation, Hun Sen, the Cambodian Prime Minister, signed a directive in August, which orders the government to not only abstain from issuing new online gambling licenses but also stop renewing existing ones. The aforesaid ban, which is set to be effective by the end of this year, also indicated that “foreign criminals might be taking refuge in the form of online gambling to cheat and extort money from victims.”

The crackdown on online gambling has revealed the mass withdrawal of Chinese nationals who were employed in Cambodia’s remote gambling industry. Statistics from Cambodia’s Interior Ministry point out that, ever since the introduction of the anti-online gambling directive, around 6,000 nationals have been leaving Cambodia on a daily basis. Pornmoniroth, however, has made it clear this week that his ministry needs Chinese investment, except for online gambling. He has also noted that “a new system” will be worked out to attract “scrupulous Chinese investment” to counterbalance the losses resulting from the country’s online gambling ban.

Another source from the Cambodian Ministry of Finance has reported that the government could be planning on providing even more opportunities for foreign investors who are keen on investing in Cambodia. He has welcomed businessmen across a wide spectrum of opportunities, such as real estate development and economics.

Michael Grant

Michael writes news articles covering covering whole casino industry. He is passionate about online poker games. He regularly contributes in-depth news stories regarding casino industry and legislations.

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