The Cambodian government has issued a further 13 casino licenses in the first four months of 2019, taking the total to 163, local media reports.
Currently only 51 are in operation, with the rest either under construction or having ceased operations, the Khmer Times reports. Out of the total 91 were issued for the province of Sihanoukville, the newspaper said.
Ros Phearun, deputy director-general at the ministry’s financial industry department was cited as saying that the increase reflected the rise in tourism numbers to Cambodia.
Tourism arrivals were up 10.7 percent last year to 6.2 million, with the fastest growth from China, which saw a gain of 32.6 percent.
He added that a long-awaited law to regulate the industry was likely to be published soon. The draft has already been completed at the ministry level and will be submitted to the Council of Ministers in the near future.
“With this law, we hope to attract more big casino investors and increase revenue from the industry. I think that, as a result of this law, revenue collected from the industry will double,” he was cited as saying.
The government collected $46 million from the industry last year and that is expected to rise to $70 million this year.
Cambodia has seen a surge of Chinese investment, particularly around the Sihanoukville area, as part of Beijing’s “one belt, one road” initiative.