The Government of Cambodia has suddenly outlawed online gambling following a directive from Prime Minister Hun Sen in order to ‘make social reform, strengthen public order and improve social morality’.
According to a report from The Phnom Penh Post newspaper, the nation’s Minister of Finance, Keat Chhon, has terminated all previously valid licenses covering electronic gaming, slot machines and sportsbetting activities.
'We will punish, in accordance with the law, any business licensee who disrespects this declaration,' said Chhon.
The newspaper reported that Sporting Live Group, an Internet sportsbetting chain set up in 2006, had been forced to close alongside licensed operator Cambo Six.
'We agreed to close our business in accordance with the Government's decision,' an anonymous employee of Sporting Live told the newspaper.
Both Sporting Live and Cambo Six stated that they had not been able to pay out all of the winnings owed to customers due to the speed of the crackdown despite assurances from Chhon. Both firms have foreign backers and Nancy Chau, Manager for Cambo Six's head office, said that she had sent a letter to the Prime Minister requesting a compromise in order to save the considerable investment in the company.
'We told the Prime Minister we have an agreement,” said Chau.
“We cannot immediately end the agreement.'
Chau revealed that Cambo Six’s license had been valid until the end of January 2011 and stated that she had not yet received a reply from the Prime Minister.
'We do not know [the response]; we are lost right now,' said Chau.