Simon’s Guide to Gambling and Casinos in Cambodia

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NagaWorld Casino in Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia. Even tough gambling establishments should be off-limits to citizens, yet on the picture you can see people in the outdoor casino who look like locals.

NagaWorld Casino in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Source: TAM Global Travel

 

Gambling regulation in Cambodia allows the operation of various gambling establishments, provided they have applied for and received a gambling licence. However, gambling establishments are not allowed to offer their services to locals, though this rule is not strictly enforced.

The history of Cambodia, located on the Indochina Peninsula, is plagued with civil war and occupation. Gambling was completely banned in the country under the Khmer Rouge regime, but was legalised again in the 90s. However, in 1996 the Law on the Suppression of Gambling annulled all licences that had been given out, and prohibited practically all forms of gambling for Cambodian residents.* Gamblers may be punished by a fine of up to 50 000 Riels or imprisonment for one month.

The only form of gambling that remained legally available to Cambodians for a while were slot machines. However, even these were banned in 2009 following a series of violent disputes over gambling debts.**

Not wanting to give up on the tax revenues from casinos, gambling establishments were not completely banned. Licences have been given out ever since, and casinos accepting only foreign players thrive near the country’s borders. This is mainly the result of the neighbouring countries’ even stricter gambling regulations.

Online gambling is not specifically regulated in Cambodia, though it is generally thought to be included in the ban on all forms of gambling under the 1996 Law on the Suppression of Gambling. There have been reports of online gambling operators and even players arrested for online gambling.

 

*Source: Law on the Suppression of Gambling

**Source: Casinos in Cambodia – When the luck runs out (The Economist)

 

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Summary:

 

 

Casino gambling in Cambodia

 

Online casino gambling in Cambodia: illegal, players may be prosecuted

 

Land-based casino gambling is legal in Cambodia, but locals are not allowed to participate in any games of chance. The Cambodian government has had a large revenue from taxes on the money spent by foreigners at casinos. However, this amount is likely to be diminished, as neighbouring countries introduce more lax gambling laws. Still, the Cambodian government has not contemplated legalising casino gambling for Cambodian people as well.

Cambodia currently hosts over 50 brick and mortar casinos catering to foreigners. Casinos are concentrated near the borders, but several are located in the capital, Phnom Penh. The largest and most well-known casino in the capital is NagaWorld, boasting an 8-storey entertainment wing and an outdoor casino as well. The casino offers hundreds of slot machines and table games including Poker, Roulette, Baccarat and Blackjack.

Online casino gambling is not specifically mentioned in the Law on the Suppression of Gambling. Still, it is considered illegal, foreign online casino sites are often blocked, and there have been cases of the Cambodian police making arrests for participation in online gambling.*

 

*Source: Cambodian Online Gambling Arrests as Police Storm Villas (casino.org)

 

Bingo in Cambodia

 

Online Bingo in Cambodia: illegal, players may be prosecuted

 

Bingo in Cambodia is legal for foreigners, but illegal to play by and offer to locals. Bingo games are available at several of the country’s land-based casino in Poipet (the Star Cegas Casino), Siem Reap and the capital Phnom Penh.

None of the brick and mortar casinos in Cambodia where Bingo is available offer any online Bingo games. Foreign Bingo websites may be available to Cambodian players, but some are blocked, and it involves some risk, as the punishment ranges up to 50 000 Riels or a month in prison.

 

 

Poker in Cambodia

 

Online Poker in Cambodia: illegal, players may be prosecuted

 

Playing Poker is, as other forms of gambling, prohibited for Cambodians by the Law on the Suppression of Gambling. Foreigners, on the other hand, are free to participate in live Poker games at any of the country’s casinos, many of which offer Poker games. The most popular types of Poker are Hold’em, Omaha and Caribbean Stud.

Online Poker, while not specifically regulated, is likely considered illegal in Cambodia. However, Cambodian players who decide to take the risk do have quite a few online Poker sites to choose from. They should bear in mind though, that the punishment for online gambling can range up to 50 000 Riels or a month in prison.

 

 

Sports betting in Cambodia

 

Online sports betting in Cambodia: illegal, players may be prosecuted

 

Sports betting is illegal in Cambodia, but is still widely enjoyed. Gambling on sports events is somewhat of a tradition, with Cambodians betting on anything from cockfights through boat races to football matches. Even foreigners in the country would be hard-pressed to find legal opportunities for sports betting, as the Cambodian casinos don’t seem to offer sports betting as part of their repertoire.

Online sports betting is also illegal, though many international sports betting sites are available to Cambodian players.

 

 

Lottery in Cambodia

 

Online lottery in Cambodia: illegal, players may be prosecuted

 

Traditional lottery games are legal in Cambodia, and the country has a national lottery, Pan Cambodian Lottery. The lottery has a website, but currently not even the types of games are listed, which means, of course, that there is no online lottery available. Revenues from tickets sold support Cambodian social welfare programs.

The national lottery has a monopoly on the Cambodian market. As they have no online licence or version, there are no legal options for Cambodian gamblers to play lottery games online. Several offshore online lottery sites are available to Cambodians, but others may be blocked, and players possibly prosecuted.

 

 

Bitcoin gambling in Cambodia

 

Bitcoin gambling in Cambodia: illegal, players may be prosecuted

 

Use of Bitcoin itself is legal in Cambodia, and there is a Bitcoin exchange service based in Cambodia, so the cryptocurrency is not unknown in the country. Bitcoin gambling, however, falls under the general ban on gambling by the Law on the Suppression of Gambling, and is illegal. Due to the anonymous nature of Bitcoin gambling, Cambodians may be able to play on foreign Bitcoin casinos, but some sites may be blocked and players can be – and have been – prosecuted for online gambling.

 

 

Online gambling websites accepting players from Cambodia

We don’t recommend anyone from Cambodia to play in any online casino. Players have been prosecuted for placing bets online and you risking a fine (and in extreme cases, imprisonment) if you still do.

 

 

 

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This page is part of Simon’s List – Legal Status of Online Gambling – a definitive guide to the legal status of all forms of online gambling activities in every country around the world.

 

Last updated: 2015.10. 16

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Simon's Guide to Gambling and Casinos in Cambodia
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Simon's Guide to Gambling and Casinos in Cambodia
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An overview of the legal status of gambling and casinos in Cambodia.
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