A casino in the former resistance stronghold of O’Smach will temporarily close while Cambodian and Thai officials renegotiate a border checkpoint agreement there, Oddar Meanchey Province Governor Long Sarin said Thursday.
The newly-opened Royal Hill Resort operated three days a week, catering mostly to gamblers from Thailand, where gambling is illegal. But the Thai government objected, saying the casino’s existence went against an agreement between the two countries not to have gambling houses in that area, the Kyodo News Service reported.
“Thailand and Cambodia opened a border checkpoint at O’Smach to boost trade and tourism between the two countries, not for gambling,” Thai official were quoted as saying.
Thailand threatened to close the checkpoint unless the casino was closed, the official told Kyodo. But Long Sarin said Cambodian officials will have to further investigate Thailand’s complaint, saying the casino is operating legally.
“We will make a new agreement [with Thailand] because the O’Smach checkpoint is not official, it has just temporarily opened,” Long Sarin said.
Long Sarin said a provincial delegation will travel to Thailand this month to discuss the checkpoint and the casino. It is unclear when the resort will reopen.
Cambodia has 15 casinos, 11 of them near the Thai border.