It’s 9 a.m. and the Crown casino in the Cambodian border town of Bavet is booming. Hordes of Vietnamese gamblers cram themselves around card games drinking coffee and chewing on cigarette ends.

While some may have caught some sleep since the night’s session, for others, the 24-hour opening cycle has kept the chips and cards rolling all night.

On the surface this wild-west town 160km from Phnom Penh appears to be thriving and the numbers of Vietnamese strong. 

Gaming operators looking for an easy way to set up a casino and cash-in on the thousands of Vietnamese eager for a flutter, could see its luck change as Cambodia introduces new gaming legislation.

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Gaming establishments in Cambodia will likely be subject to a tax rate in the “mid single digits” once the regulatory and tax bill comes into place.

Hong Kong-listed NagaCorp posted a 7 percent year-on-year increase in net profit for the full-year ended Dec. 31, 2016. According to a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Wednesday, net profit for the year came in at US$184.2 million, attributed to “better cost control and the 2016 EGM Fee”.

Vietnam’s latest decree allowing its citizens to place bets on international sporting events could cut into Cambodian casino revenues, a government official said on Monday.

Cambodia’s main casino resorts continue to benefit from rising growth in tourism and are planning new marketing initiatives and attractions to appeal to the expanding mass market.

Vietnam’s move to allow locals to gamble should not have a significant impact on casinos in Cambodia, says Ros Phirun, deputy director-general of the Finance Ministry of Cambodia.

For 2017 and beyond, I think we will likely see accelerated casino resort development in Southeast Asia, especially Vietnam and Cambodia.

In 2017 I think we will continue to see the larger players in Macau flex their muscles internationally looking for ROIC no longer available in Macau.

Gaming supplier Entertainment Gaming Asia (EGT) has sold its remaining gaming assets in Cambodia in an effort to streamline its business operations.

Malaysia-listed MQ Technology has denied reports that it is in talks with Cambodia’s largest casino operator, NagaCorp, over plans to develop and manage a theme park in the Kingdom.