Cambodia’s gaming industry has taken a major knock from the Covid-19 crisis and last year’s ban on online gaming, but those on the ground are optimistic it will bounce back stronger than ever.
The country had been one of the most rapidly expanding jurisdictions in Asia, with about 118 properties in operation at the end of the year, with most centered on the southern coastal town of Sihanoukville.
The economy expanded by 7 percent last year, helped by Chinese investment as part of Beijing’s “one belt, one road” project, providing a strong visitor base for its casinos. It’s expected to contract by 0.3 percent this year, before rebounding 6 percent next, according to Moody’s Investors Service.
However, rampant growth, rising crime and pressure from Beijing caused Prime Minister Hun Sen to pull the plug on online operations, raising questions about the viability of many land-based casinos, which were essentially little more than...
Lotte Tour Development’s hopes of gaining quick approval to open the Jeju Dream Tower casino have been frustrated as the Jeju Provincial Council has delayed a decision, opting instead to investigate accusations by a local anti-casino group that the earlier public opinion surveys may have been manipulated.
The world is bouncing back, or at least coming to grips with the fact that going forward not much will be the same as before. Commendably, this industry quickly understood the need to adapt to a new normal, and that the days of targeting the low hanging fruit of the VIP sector are gone.
Over the years, many of the answers have been remarkably prescient in their forecasts for the near-term direction of Asia’s gaming industry. However, we can safely say that no one came anywhere close to guessing what 2020 may have had in store.