A national lottery will soon be launched to help fund Cambodia’s cash-strapped national sports teams, officials said on Sunday.
According to the plan, 40 percent of the lottery’s revenues will benefit the athletes, while the rest will be distributed among shareholders of the newly-formed Corporation of Olympic Sport, said Chea Peng Chheang, secretary of state for the Ministry of Finance.
“This is not 100-percent government—it is a mixed cooperation,” he said.
National Olympic Committee President Prince Norodom Ranariddh initiated plans for the lottery to create revenues for the country’s sports programs, according to a Feb 8 press release from the committee.
Cambodian sports “need a lot of money to upgrade,” said Funcinpec spokesman Chea Chanboribo, who was recently appointed to chair the committee’s information commission. “Even though there has been support from Premier Hun Sen and sports supporters, it is still not enough,” he said.
With this lottery, the government is not encouraging gambling, but rather allowing those who wish to support the nation’s athletes to do so, and also try their luck at the same time, he said.
The lottery tickets will bear the phrase “Buy lottery, support national sports,” Chea Chanboribo added.
Neither Chea Chanboribo nor Olympic committee secretary-general Meas Sarin could give further details on the lottery corporation or on how the lottery will work.
But Chea Peng Cheang said the lottery could begin as soon as next month. A license was issued five months ago, making the sports lottery Cambodia’s fourth licensed lottery, he said.
Yean Chheang, deputy secretary-general of the National Football Federation, said on Sunday that the extra income is badly needed.
“It is hard to rely on a national budget, because our country is poor and there is no revenue from sports,” he said.
Chea Vannath, president of the Center for Social Development, said a more generalized state lottery would better serve national interests.
“It is better to go to the national revenue, and national budget, and to allocate accordingly. Otherwise, if each institution and each program has its own lottery, it will be out of control,” she said.