A new casino at the Svay Rieng-Vietnam border crossing is preparing to open early next year, officials said Wednesday.
Construction on the one-story building is nearly complete, and the casino could open for business by January, said provincial deputy police chief Sith Choy. “I have seen that the company is seeking staff and training them to be dealers,” he said.
Ros Phirun, chief of the casino division for the Finance Ministry’s Financial Industry Department, said the venture in Svay Rieng appeared to have Council of Ministers approval, but that the company had not yet acquired the necessary license from his ministry.
The casino’s name and ownership were unclear Wednesday.
Men Keng Ly, chief of border police at the crossing, dismissed worries that gambling could bring crime and said he expects the new casino to provide jobs.
“I don’t think rich people are going to become thieves,” he said. “The more casino operations, the more jobs for the people.”
The casino will be the third to operate in the barren border town of Bavet.
Casino Bavet-Moc Bai and Le Macau Casino have also opened in Svay Rieng in recent years, catering to Chinese and Vietnamese gamblers.
But a long-debated bill to govern casinos has gathered dust in the Finance Ministry and Council of Ministers, and tax collection from the casino business, though rising, remains low. Last year the government collected about $10 million in casino tax, Ros Phirun said.
“We will send our staff there to [the new casino] to see if it’s true and see about collecting tax,” he said. But due to the lack of clear laws, “walking into a casino to collect tax is like walking into a field of land mines,” he added.