Cambodia Online Gambling Ban Costs 7,700 Jobs
For those that think online casinos don’t generate many jobs, take a look at recent reports from Cambodia. The country put a ban on online gambling back in August. Since that time, over 7,700 locals have lost their jobs as online casinos have been shut down.
What’s worse is that the number of jobs lost will continue to rise over the next few weeks. The Cambodian government in now conducting inspections and any outliers will be shut down.
Online Gambling Ban Will Cost Country $20 Million in Tax Revenue
Back in August, Prime Minister Hun Sen gave the order to cease online gambling nationwide. Last week, he made the announcement that online gambling bans will become permanent, thus putting the Cambodian casino industry in crisis.
While it is unknown the exact number of online casinos that have shut down since August, estimates claim that about 7,000 jobs have been lost as a result of the online casino ban. There are just 136 online casinos left nationwide and that number will drop down to 94 by the end of January.
This isn’t the case of the government not getting a cut of the action. Instead, estimates claim that Cambodia gets around $20 million a year in online gambling tax revenue. The online casino ban will eliminate this tax revenue.
Cambodia iGaming Ban Due to Chinese Influence
Why is Cambodia banning online gambling? China seems to largely be at fault. Sihanoukville has become the hub for gambling in Cambodia with dozens of Chinese-run casinos in operation. All operate online casinos with blackjack, online pokies, and other forms of casino games.
According to Prime Minister Sen, foreign criminals have been using online casinos to extort money from Cambodians. As such, the online gambling ban was put into place. After the ban, many of these casinos have closed up shop. In Sihanoukville, the number of casinos has dropped from 70 to 36.
Over 7,700 Jobs Lost – More to Come
The area hardest hit by the Cambodian online gambling ban has been the labor market. According to Sihanoukville labor department director Yov Khemara, over 7,700 locals have become unemployed due to the ban.
According to Khemara, “Before, they worked in factories and when there was better salaries in casinos, they came to work in casinos.” With government inspections now underway, you can expect the number of casino shutdowns to increase. This means that more locals will lose their jobs.
Many of those who lost their job will return to work at factories, meaning a decreased quality of life.
Cambodia a Primary Example of Impact of iGaming Ban
When we hear of an online gambling ban, we often don’t consider the true cost of such a ban. Sure, we know that online gambling companies may not make as much in profit. We also know that the government will miss out on tax revenue.
However, we don’t consider the impact in other areas, particularly jobs. As has been the case in Cambodia, smaller online casinos can rely on online gambling as a way to make operations viable. When you’re in an area with massive amounts of competition, you need every revenue stream available.
A ban on online gambling impacts the bottom line to the point where it will cause job loss. It may not be as extreme as is the case in Cambodia, but you do have those that will become unemployed due to such a ban.
We are not overlooking the fact that criminals were using online gambling as a tool in Cambodia. However, the government should have looked into other methods of stopping these casinos rather than shut down an entire industry.
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