Cambodian online gaming crackdown instigates Chinese flight
Cambodia and “a large number of Chinese nationals” were reported to have left the coastal community of Sihanoukville after the government decided last month to stop granting or renewing online gambling licenses for the Southeast Asian nation.
According to a report by GGRAsia citing an article in the South China Morning Post newspaper, Hun Sen, the Prime Minister of Cambodia, is expected to take full effect by the end of the year to help local law enforcement officials assess the recent spread of Combat online and telephone fraud programs targeting ethnic Chinese consumers.
Sihanoukville is a city of approximately 90,000 people in the Gulf of Thailand and is widely regarded as a hub for the local online gambling industry. GGRAsia reported that the recent exodus is likely to consist of local Chinese workers deployed for the provision of iGaming services to players in their home country.
However, the flight of so many Chinese workers is unlikely to affect business in over 40 local land-based casinos built with the help of investors in the world’s most populous nation. These locations, which are reserved for foreigners only, include the recently opened Xihu Resort Hotel as well as the equally fresh Golden Sea Hotel and Casino, which have helped make this once-sleepy community a destination for players from Malaysia, South Korea and China.
The South China Morning Post also said that Cambodian law enforcement officials, working in partnership with their colleagues in China, had carried out operations in the cities of Bavet and Sihanoukville last week, which arrested about 150 Chinese nationals , These suspects were later allegedly deported to their homeland and are likely to be prosecuted for having operated unauthorized online casinos and sports betting.