Last Minute Payment Stops Naga Casino Eviction Plan

The Naga Floating Casino will not be pulling up anchor Friday, according to city officials, as parent company Ariston Snd Bhd has paid the back rent.

In February, municipal officials threatened to evict the casino ship from its choice location—moored in the Bassac River south of the Royal Palace—unless payment was received by this Friday.

Deputy Phnom Penh Governor Chev Kimheng said at the time that Ariston owed the city $389,972: $213,890 in “docking fees,” which have not been paid since 1995, and another $176,082 in rent for its adjacent parking lot, unpaid since 1996. The city ordered the casino to pay up by June 1.

Nget Chaddavy, director of finance for the city, said Tuesday that officials have received the money, which will be spent on repairs to roads and other projects.

Company officials confirmed that payment had been made but could provide no other details Tuesday.

The squabble over rent was just the latest in a series of confrontations between Ariston and Phnom Penh Governor Chea So­phara, who has noted that casinos were banned from the city in late 1998 after a spate of gambling-related crime. Ariston, however, signed a contract with the government in 1994, that granted Ariston the right to run a high-end casino. A court upheld that contract in 1999.

Now Ariston plans to build a $100 million resort and casino, featuring a 750-room hotel, about 500 meters south of the Naga’s current location, which is within the governor’s new riverfront development zone.

The governor has said that while he welcomes the hotel, the casino should be kept outside the city.

 

 

 

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