Casino business operators at Cambodia’s borders face difficulties in reopening even though there have been zero new Covid-19 cases for three consecutive days in the Kingdom.
Ros Phearun, deputy director-general at the Finance Ministry’s Financial Industry Department, told Khmer Times yesterday that casino operations have not been resumed as of yesterday, the third day of zero new Covid-19 cases, because of the condition of buildings. The casinos, which need to renovate the buildings due to the lack of maintenance, also face a labour shortage.
“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.
Phearun also noted that operators of casinos in border areas, including Poipet and Bavet towns, have not applied to renew their licenses. However, some casinos in other regions have resumed their operations due to an uptick in tourism activities.
Prime Minister Hun Sen, before his departure to the US for the US-Asean Summit in the US as the Asean Chair 2022, on May 12 and 13, said, “Today is the third day that Cambodia has no new cases of Covid-19 across the country.”
The Prime Minister thanked the people’s hard work in the fight against the pandemic.
However, Phearun said it is too early to predict the situation of casino business operations in border areas, saying, “I have not seen any remarkable new developments.”
Star Vegas, operated by ASX-listed Donaco International Ltd, has already reported that it was ready to resume its casino operations in Poipet in Banteay Meanchey province on the Thailand border. It was closed in April 2021 following a massive decline in revenues.
Casinos in Bavet City of Svay Rieng province near Cambodia’s border with Vietnam have started recruiting staff for reopening. Bavet International Checkpoint is still under a soft opening, while some Chinese and Vietnamese guests are looking for enjoyment.
Hak Vy, hotel manager at Titan King Casino Hotel & Resort, located in Bavet City, said some casino facilities suffered destruction due to the lack of maintenance. His casino, which was closed down in mid-March 2019 due to Covid-19 and resulted in several job losses, had staff to maintain the facilities at 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. Now, some casinos have announced their intention to recruit staff, but I am not sure how many people will apply,” Vy added.
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.