Casinos at Cambodia’s borders have been hit with quite a unique problem as local media reports that they are facing labor shortages. That is the reason why they remain closed and they struggle to resume their operations.
COVID-19 Cases Have Dropped, but Casinos in Poipet and Bavet Are Still Closed
The main reason why border casinos were closed was COVID-19, which raged across Cambodia. Even though the number of new cases dropped massively and no new infected people were detected from May 9 to May 11, the finance ministry’s financial industry department deputy director-general, Ros Phearun, spoke to Khmer Times and stated that casino operations haven’t resumed.
Phearun noted that one of the main reasons why border casinos struggle to open is the lack of workers, but also the current conditions of the casino properties. “Facilities were closed down for a long time,” Phearun said and stated that they are in need of maintenance work.
Titan King Casino Hotel & Resort’s hotel manager, Hak Vy, confirmed Phearun’s words and stated that some casinos “suffered destruction” due to a lack of maintenance while they were closed. Titan King is located in Bavet City and closed in March 2019.
That resulted in the loss of several jobs and Vy stated that it will be hard to recruit the staff back as the casino has lost contact with a lot of the former employees. He added that casino workers switched to other industries and due to that fact, he’s not sure whether a decent number of people will apply to work at casinos.
Cambodia is also facing a big problem concerning crime in the gambling industry. Recently, it was reported that illegal gambling groups are holding Malaysian workers as hostages and forcing them to work and manage the operations by these groups.
Several Casinos Haven’t Renewed Their Licenses
Phearunstated that a lot of casinos in border regions, Poipet and Bavet included, did not apply to renew their licenses, which makes things extra hard for them.
That is not the case with Star Vegas, though. At the start of May, Donaco International Ltd stated that it is ready to resume its operations at Star Vegas and that is awaiting approval from the Cambodian government. Star Vegas closed shop in April 2021. During this period, the casino reported over $370,000 in losses and Donaco’s non-executive chairman, Paul Porntat, confirmed that the period was pretty hard for the casino.
Moreover, Star Vegas reported a 91.7% drop in YoY revenue in April. Donaco also faced trouble with debt, but after finding a last-minute solution, Porntat stated that he’s confident that the company will be back on track.