Several years of lockdowns have not been kind to Cambodia’s border casinos, with only some having resumed operations, whilst others are in dire need of renovation, license renewal, or re-staffing. 

Speaking to Khmer Times on Wednesday, Ros Phearun, deputy-director general of the Finance Ministry of Cambodia said there have been several hurdles facing border casinos wanting to reopen. 

“I have noticed that some owners wish to resume their business operations, but it is still impossible because [their] facilities were closed down for a long time. They also need to hire people for work.”

Phearun said that many casinos in border towns, particularly in Bhavet and Poipet have yet to apply to renew their license, though casinos in other regions have already resumed operations due to an increase in tourism.

Phearun said some casinos need to renovate their buildings due to a lack of maintenance over the years, whilst others face a labor shortage.

Hak Vy, a hotel manager at Titan King Casino Hotel and Resort in Bavet City, told Khmer times that the lack of maintenance has damaged some casino facilities. His own casino, which was closed in March 2019, had staff to maintain the building. 

“I think it would be difficult to recruit the staff back because we have lost contact with many of them. Others might have switched to other sectors, including factories,” he said. Cambodia has one of the highest vaccination rates in Asia and was one of the earlier ASEAN countries to fully open its borders for quarantine-free travel for vaccinated visitors last year starting November 15, 2022.