Interview with RAIG Chairman Clive Hawkswood
January 15, 2020
Clive Hawkswood is the chairman of Responsible Affiliates in Gambling (RAiG), an independent body that aims to promote safer, responsible gambling.
Cambodia is an ideal gaming hub for foreign bettors. All forms of gambling are banned for locals. In fact, lawbreakers can face penalties and short jail sentences.
But thanks to the huge profit from gaming taxes, the government of Cambodia grants licenses to land-based casinos. Still, this is not as reliable as the licenses issued by other casino regulatory bodies. This is because only tourists and expats can access these Cambodia-licensed betting hubs. Meanwhile, the country is eyeing on allowing locals to legally access reputable betting sites as online gaming continues to prosper. Know more about the status of online betting in the country below.
The timeline of online gambling laws in the country has been jaggy. In the early 70’s, gambling was officially banned. But this rule was overhauled in the early 90’s when licenses are granted to several brick-and-mortar casinos.
Come 1996, the Law on Suppression of Gambling turned the table once again. Most forms of gambling, including online betting, are officially illegal for locals. Players can still play state lotteries and slot machines back then, but these were totally put on the ban in 2009.
After banning betting to locals, the country still gains taxes from the bets of foreign visitors. Cambodia had granted permission to over 70 land-based casinos, the largest of which is NagaWorld, located in the country’s capital city. Most of these gaming hubs are in the outskirts and special tourist zones of the country. This is to attract bettors from neighboring countries.
Online gaming is a booming field. In 2015, the country allowed casinos to offer online betting under the Cambodia Gambling License. One part of this move is the growing profit from sports betting in the country. Keep in mind that only foreign players inside the gaming hub can play. But most of these physical locations are loosely checked. As a result, there are reports that some locals are able to place their bets and play.
Despite Cambodia’s total ban of gaming to locals, many online casinos open its doors to serve Cambodian players. In fact, most of these casinos are hotshots in the field. These include the likes of LeoVegas, Jackpot City, Slots Million, and more. The reason is these betting sites have an offshore license.
There are many options for locals to bet on sports as well. Major Asian bookmakers like 12Beta and Bodog88 have their agents collect bets from local bettors. Plus, many bookies from the other side of the world are willing to accept bettors from Cambodia. These include European bookies like Ladbrokes, Betfair, Paddy Power, and more. Just note that if you are a Cambodian player, signing up for real-money plays is at your own risk.
Betting, either online or on land, is a big part of the Cambodian culture. The continued efforts of locals in finding a way to bet under these laws show that there is a big gaming market in the country. The possibility of revamping the law is still raw. Even so, one thing is for sure—Cambodia holds great potential in the online gaming space.