Cambodia’s once-thriving casino industry is undergoing all sorts of changes, some of it spurred by the government’s recent decision to rein in its online gambling market.
Cambodian media reported that environmental activists in Preah Sihanouk province were pushing the local government to demolish the dormant Jin Ding Hotel & Casino on Koh Rong Samloem Island.
The notorious casino was ordered to close in March after local residents repeatedly complained about the casino pumping raw sewage into the sea, amongst other infractions.
But the casino’s Chinese owner, who had been operating without a license for over a year, simply ignored the order and it took local officials until late-May to shut the joint down.
Officials assured local residents that the offending building would be torn down in order to restore their once pristine beach to its former glories.
The Cambodia government hasn’t taken any steps toward this goal since the casino was shut down, prompting local environmental group Mother Nature to file a petition urging local officials to get on with the job.
As recently as one month ago, Sihanoukville was home to dozens of casinos, most of which were run by Chinese nationals. But since the Cambodian government announced a moratorium on its online gambling licensing regime, many of these Chinese nationals have upped sticks and returned home.
Local residents who worked in some of these Chinese-run casinos have also seen their lives upended. Sihanoukville’s Baomai Resort & Casino suspended its operations on September 1 and around 300 staff reported that the Chinese owner failed to pay their final month’s wages.