The amount of tax collected from the nation’s 193 licensed casinos fell by more than half in 2020 due to closures of land-based venues
Cambodia's Ministry of Economy and Finance Deputy Director, Ros Phearun, told The Phnom Penh Post, that tax collected from the casino industry plummeted to about 53%, that halved to $40 million in 2020, from the $85 million recorded in 2019.
According to Ros Phearun, tax revenue from Cambodia’s casino industry cratered in 2020 as COVID-19 prompted the government to tighten entry restrictions, limiting the number of international visitors to the Kingdom.
Phearun said, “As we’re all too well aware, the Covid-19 epidemic began in late 2019 and persists to this day. It’s pulverised all economic sectors, and the casino industry has sustained a crippling blow as well. Practically all of our casinos ceased operation in 2020, with only just seven or eight left scrambling to keep their businesses afloat. That’s why our revenue collection has dropped so much."
Phearun said the ban on online and arcade gambling issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen on August 18, 2019, had further drove down tax revenue from the sector, as such operations had provided foreign nationals with the opportunity to secretly run online money extortion scams.
The prime minister noted that licensed online gambling operators were rigging their games and threatening those unable to repay their gambling debts.
Phearun expressed, “making matters worse still, the government suspended all casino operations from April until August-September, which saw a handful of businesses resume for the fourth quarter”
Earlier this month, Hong Kong-listed NagaCorp Ltd, announced it managed a net profit of US$102.3 million for the full year of 2020.
NagaCorp also used its financial statement to tout Cambodia’s overall performance in the pandemic era, in congruence with The Cambodian government seeking to establish a travel bubble with China, Japan and South Korea.
“The number of COVID-19 cases in Cambodia is relatively well contained and those efforts have won positive response.” NagaCorp said.
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