Ministry of Interior Outlaws Bets on National Election Results

The Ministry of Interior has outlawed all betting on the results of the upcoming July 28 national election, saying the move was necessary to prevent insecurity.

The ban, which was posted on the ministry’s website, said that the measure was necessary in order to ensure public safety and security, as well as protect the people’s standard of living, which would be threatened when people placed wagers based on inaccurate information.

“The Ministry of Interior ap­peals to all parties, NGOs and people to implement this order in order to prevent and illuminate all illegal acts, which are affecting the national election process,” the ministry said in the statement.

According to the ministry, people in Phnom Penh and Prey Veng province have been betting on how each party would fare in the ballot on July 28.

Yim Sovann, spokesman for the Cambodia National Rescue Party, questioned why the Ministry of Interior was issuing such a statement, when gambling is already illegal outside of sanctioned casinos.

“The Ministry of Interior should only be concerned with the security of the nation,” he said.

Despite being barred from the nation’s casinos, Cambodians are avid gamblers and can often be seen taking bets with each other at coffee shops on anything from football to the rain. In 2006, Cambodia’s only licensed bookmaker, Cambosix, was forced to close its operations in Phnom Penh, leaving NagaWorld casino the only place to legally gamble in the city.

One gambler, who asked not to be named, said that he was surprised to hear of the government ban on bets about the election winner.

“This is the first time that the Ministry of Interior has banned betting on the results of each party,” he said.

The man added that the stakes between him and his friends were usually just a few drinks come election time, so he saw no need for the ban.

“We are betting for a drink or one box of beer every five years, I think that is allowable,” he said.

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