Existing licences will not be renewed once they expire
The Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Sen has issued a directive stating that in a bid to preserve public order the Southeast Asian country would cease to issue licences to online gambling businesses, existing licences will not be renewed once they expire.
“The Royal Government stops granting principles and licences to operate online gambling businesses inside and outside Cambodia from the day of signature on this directive onwards,” stated the directive in a reproduction by Chinese news agency, Xinhua.
The document added: “For valid licence holders, they will be allowed to operate until the licences are expired. After that, the Ministry of Economy and Finance will not renew their licences anymore.”
According to reports the direction was written in response to an increasing rate of underground online gambling businesses operating telecom scams in order to extort money from victims inside and outside the country. The initiative will ban all online and arcade gambling.
According to the government that “foreign criminals have taken refuge in the form of this gambling to cheat and extort money from victims, domestic and abroad, which affect the security, public order and social order."
The Khmer Times quoted National Police spokesperson Lt. General Chhay Kim Khoeun saying the authorities “have already been cracking down on illegal gambling operations and … have arrested hundreds of people.”
In addition to fraud the volume of Chinese money being invested recently in gaming and hotel businesses in the Cambodian seaside resort of Sihanoukville has received widespread publicity.
The Xinhua report did not clarify whether the action against “online gambling” would also affect so-called “proxy” or telebetting”. In some scenarios such gambling can be offered at a live gaming table in a licensed bricks and mortar casino – either via the Internet or voice phone service – to players not physically present in the casino.