The citizens of Cambodian and Thailand are prohibited from gambling in any of the casinos based in their respective countries. Following Thailand’s military coup of 2014, the army has made it one of its priorities to clamp down on illegal gambling dens, a situation which has led to Cambodia setting up a number of small casinos in its border areas to take advantage of the situation.
The latest such venue to spring up is the Saitaku Resort and Casino, located between the two countries’ passport control area near the small town of Poipet. However, it looks like Cambodia has gone too far this time, as the Thai authorities has banned its citizens from crossing the Chong Sai Taku checkpoint since the casino’s opening on April 7th. In a tit-for-tat, Cambodia has since prohibited its own people from crossing the border into Thailand, with the stalemate now not only affecting the casinos, but also trade in general between the two Southeast Asian nations.
Talking to the Bangkok Post recently, Mayor of Tambon Chantoppetch, Mr Santi Uthumporn, said that trade between vendors and merchants had fallen from millions of baht per week to next to zero, and called upon the relevant authorities to resolve the conflict as a matter of great urgency.
While the situation has led to an uneasy standoff between the two countries, Cambodia is hoping for better luck attracting foreign citizens from Vietnam, who are also banned from gambling in their own country. As a result, Cambodia is currently building a $200 million casino resort, called Empire World City, on its northern border just a short distance from a border crossing with Vietnam. Commenting on the development expected to take 10 years to complete, Empire World CEO, Mt Eric , stated:
“We believe that the Empire World city will boost up the local economy by attract neighboring Vietnamese into the city.”