Chinese nationals control over 90% of businesses in Cambodia’s Sihanoukville region, including over three-quarters of its casino operations.
Authorities in Preah Sihanouk province released a report on Monday showing that Chinese nationals owned 150 of Sihanoukville’s 156 hotels and guesthouses, along with 41 of its 46 karaoke clubs and massage parlors. The Phomn Penh Post reporte that an estimated 95% of the region’s 436 restaurants are managed by Chinese nationals, who also have ownership stakes in 48 of Sihanoukville’s 62 operational casinos.
Cambodia’s government revealed last month that 91 of the 163 casino licenses it has issued to date were for operations in Preah Sihanouk province. Many of these licenses were focused on online gambling operations, which traditionally target customers in mainland China.
The massive rise in the number of new casino licenses issued – including 13 in just the first four months of 2019 – has raised government revenue but has also increased tensions between local residents and the hordes of Chinese nationals flooding into Sihanoukville.
Sihanoukville’s Chinese bubble may have finally burst last month following the physical collapse of an in-development resort that resulted in dozens of deaths. A Chinese-run casino w