Casinos And Gambling In Sihanoukville, Cambodia

“They are the number one user, as Cambodia’s currently the number one exporter,” says Marc McLay, a Canadian gaming promoter known as Jonny Ferrari who sold online gambling software here. Casinos now dominate the Sihanoukville skyline, but much of the money driving this explosion in construction comes from further afield, thanks to live online gaming. Under a longstanding agreement with the government, Naga has exclusive rights to operate in and around Phnom Penh until 2045. With a license extending until 2065, the company is currently building a $3 billion addition to its NagaWorld complex in the capital. PHNOM PENH — Cambodia will boast one of the world’s lowest tax rates for casinos under a new law that the government says will create a “safe and sound” sector and help attract greater investment.

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Communist Vietnam enforces a ban against its own citizens gambling at home, which naturally pushes its punters over to Cambodia, where their money is welcome. And for a parallel reason, conservative Buddhist clergy have forbidden gambling houses from Thailand and Myanmar. Sihanoukville, Cambodia, recently was bustling with casino and hotel growth funded by Chinese investors, but the country’s ban on online gaming that went into effect Jan. 1 prompted many of those investors to cut and run.

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Facebook and cell-phone messaging kept casino workers in constant contact with the campaign—but the regular general assemblies attended by thousands of members were where the real organizing, education, and buy-in developed from members. The union put the settlement to a membership vote in the mass assembly at the strike camp, and the members unanimously approved the deal. The power of the striking workers had defeated the powerful casino owners, swiftly and decisively winning what months of pleading and litigating could not. Every action has a reaction, and the employer responded forcefully to the strike vote. Management issued letters to all employees that any workers participating in the strike would be terminated. The company began hiring replacement workers, housing and feeding them on the property, and preventing them from leaving or contacting family outside, according to the union.

InterGame is the only monthly magazine covering the international coin-op amusements and gaming industry. “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.

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The close-to-final draft of the country’s gaming bill is now with the cabinet, and once approved is expected to provide a uniform tax rate for all operators, bar one exception. NagaCorp is unlikely to lose its special treatment, or its monopoly status in the Cambodian capital. Cambodia’s casino market is a feral world, where private people still barter for licences and levies with government officials, and where some cut better deals than others. What the union lacked in a highly manicured strike plan it was able to make up for with its methodical buildup to the strike. Union leaders were systematic in gradually building up mass support for the strike, regularly giving updates on the campaign while actively engaging members by opening up most campaign decisions to mass membership votes. Leadership set an “organization test” for each workplace action to measure their strength as they built up to the strike, recruiting “activists” in each department that failed to turn out members to the previous action.

  • But in response, employers heightened the intensity and sophistication of their union busting, while the government developed legal mechanisms for labor “dispute resolution” to channel workers’ unrest into less disruptive—and often fruitless—avenues.
  • In a game called chak tik pleang, punters place wagers on when it will rain, and how heavily.
  • Those who did their jobs well were given illegal drugs as “perks.” Sometimes the criminal gang rewarded male workers with sex with women who had been trafficked into prostitution, they added.
  • The company began hiring replacement workers, housing and feeding them on the property, and preventing them from leaving or contacting family outside, according to the union.

Led by billionaire CEO Chen Lip Keong, Malaysia-based NagaCorp counted a revenue of $1.8 billion at the NagaWorld casino in 2019 alone. Yet while the casino made windfall profits—$571.8 million in 2019—housekeepers there were paid a mere $191 per month. At a mass membership meeting, union members voted to demand monthly wages be increased to $500 for gaming workers and $300 for hotel workers. In a game called chak tik pleang, punters place wagers on when it will rain, and how heavily. They do not, however love violent confrontations over gambling debts, and these are becoming daily fodder for Cambodia’s crowded newspaper market. That kind of bad publicity is what pushed the government to ban slot machines in 2009.

Under the new law, integrated resorts and standalone casinos will both pay taxes based on gross gaming revenue, or GGR. The former, however, will pay a split rate of 4% for VIP players and 7% for mass customers, while the latter will pay a flat rate of 7%. Integrated resorts, moreover, will be eligible for licenses of up to 20 years, while licenses for casino-only establishments will be capped at five years. Most are clustered around border towns and the coastal city of Sihanoukville and cater to foreign visitors, as locals are barred from gaming establishments.