In its continued efforts to standardize its gambling industry while ridding it of crime, Cambodia has put out 20 new guidelines relating to taxation and licensing for operators in the country to follow. These guidelines will essentially transform the way operators manage their casinos and also ensure they keep to the laws of the country while being clear on what is expected of them.
These new guidelines came through the general secretariat of the Commercial Gambling Management Commission of Cambodia (CGMC) and is a direct result of the Prime Minister’s directive earlier this month to curb illegal gambling, which has been linked as the causative factor for the high rates of kidnapping in the country.
The rules essentially stipulate that, going forward, credible commercial casino operators in the country are those who either applied for a license or renewed their existing license this year. Only recently, the regulator approved the license renewal of 47 casino operators and seven games-of-chance operators, making a total of 70 licenses renewed this year.
The regulator added that licensed operators will then be issued a certificate of validation that must be displayed prominently in their casino. Furthermore, the certificate is only valid for a single location and cannot be used for another. Any operator using its license to run another casino anywhere else apart from the location on the license will be dealt with according to the law. Therefore, all operators should note that they are working under the watchful eyes of the CGMC.
In the words of the regulator: “The casino operators or owners have to display the original licences or the certificate of legality in a visible place in their business locations. In cases where they use a copy of the licence or the certificate at another location, it will be deemed fraudulent and they will face legal action.”
The guideline also introduced the creation of gambling zones initially suggested by the Law on the Management of Integrated Resorts and Commercial Gambling (LMCG). As another tactic for regulatory control, the commission has created three zones: Prohibited, Permitted and Favoured. The Prohibited zone is where gambling is illegal, meaning casinos cannot operate there. The Permitted zone includes areas where most existing casinos such as NagaCorp are based. The Favoured zone on the other hand is the allocated area for integrated resorts in the country.
Regarding taxation, the guidelines also direct the operators to pay their taxes in full and at the expected time. Tax will be levied on all games within the operator’s premises. In addition, the LMCG prescribed a 4% tax on gross gaming revenue for VIPs and 7% for mass.
The government of Cambodia is looking to gradually reform its reputation as one of the world’s gambling destinations, rather than the den of crime it is known for. For a while now, the government has been sniffing out illegal gambling establishments and pawnshops from their hideout and has been making considerable progress in that area. Only time will tell how much improvement these efforts will bring to the industry and to the country at large.
According to the gambling commission, the new rules aim to “crack down on all illegal gambling activities and gambling dens and to promote legal commercial gambling”.