A report issued on Tuesday by Cambodia’s Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) indicates that over the first nine months of 2016, one-third more tax was contributed by the country’s casino industry.
According to the MEF report, as of September 30, the country located in Southeast Asia had 69 licensed casinos, that combined, fattened the government’s coffers by $37.4 million in taxes since January. The figure is 35.5% more than the government reported for the same period in 2015 and an increase over the $34.7 million in gambling taxes reportedly collected during last year in its entirety.
The growth is credited by the report to the Cambodian government’s recent efforts to shore up its taxation policies. Strict tax policies were imposed in 2014 that based on a government report in January focused on “improving the transparency, efficiency and equity of the tax system and monitoring tax collection more closely.” During the past few years, the government went out of its way to welcome gambling providers into the country and has attracted major investors to its casino industry. If the gambling reports are any indicator, its liberal gambling laws appear to be paying major dividends.
NagaCorp Ltd’s (3918:Hong Kong) NagaWorld casino resort in Phnom Penh is the country’s biggest casino and its largest contributor, generating as much as 23 percent of the government’s gambling taxes, according to the earlier report. Currently, NagaWorld, which has focused both on gaming and non-gaming related activities, is only taxed about 2 percent of its revenue. The tax bill for the casino in Phnom Penh totaled $16m for the first nine months of this year, which is roughly 43 percent of what was collected in total, according to a current report. In a recent filing based on preliminary unaudited figures submitted by NagaCorp to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the company recorded double-digit growth for year-on-year totals in all gaming segments during the first nine months of the year.
Earlier this year, NagaCorp said that it expected the country’s long-overdue gambling law revisions to be passed sometime this year and that those revisions would likely include a tax provision, as well as a possible gaming tax.
NagaCorp recently announced that its $350 million Primorsky Entertainment Resort City in Vladivostok, Russia is on target to open in the summer of 2018 after previous reports indicated that construction had been delayed.