Casino mogul’s Cambodia cash hedges investors’ bet

Hong Kong – NagaCorp’s founder is giving investors a $1.8 billion confidence boost. Chen Lip Keong, also the company’s chief executive, has pledged to cover more than half of the cost of building Asia’s largest gambling resort, in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. The group faces more competition, and both Cambodia and the gambling industry depend heavily on China. But investors can find reassurance in the personal punt.

There are plenty of risks. For one, China has dominated investment into Cambodia, bringing expatriate workers and tourists. Links with Beijing have been strong under Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, and the two sides announced a handful of deals including military aid late last month. But any economic wobbles across the border could be a headache, for visitors and for Naga. Hun Sen’s dismal human rights record, moreover, hardly guarantees stability.

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