As of 2021, the law states that gambling is legal and illegal at the same time. Here’s how. Cambodians are prohibited from accessing and playing casino games. The only gambling-related game that is considered legal in the country is the state lottery.
But, foreigners are more than welcome to go to the land-based casinos in the country and enjoy many of the casino games that are offered at these facilities. Statistics have shown that millions of tourists go to Cambodia each year with the sole purpose of gambling. That is the reason why the government can collect millions of dollars in taxes from this industry.
Online casinos are not strictly regulated in Cambodia, but the law is very general and states that all forms of gambling are illegal for Cambodians. Hence, it is an accepted fact that the law is also applied to online casinos, which means that they too are prohibited.
But, this industry is not controlled by the government, which is why many Cambodians access offshore casino sites, register, and play the latest casino games with ease. Yes, there are penalties for those that get caught gambling illegally, but the thing is that this happens very rarely.
Regulation Laws and Authorities
Since gambling is illegal for Cambodians, there is no specific authority that regulates these activities. The casinos that own a license and are able to offer gambling services to foreigners are supervised directly by the government of Cambodia. As for the law that regulates gambling, the 1996 Law on the Suppression of Gambling states that all forms of gambling are illegal in the country.
Considering the fact that online casinos are not strictly regulated in Cambodia, players can access them. But, they do that at their own risks since many unlicensed/scam sites operate in the region as well. Hence, Cambodian players are often on the lookout for sites that are licensed by reputable authorities. Some of those are the Malta Gaming Authority and the UK Gambling Commission.
According to the 1996 Law on the Suppression of Gambling, Cambodians that get caught gambling will face a fine that goes up to 50,000 Riels or even 1 month in prison. But, history showed that this does not happen too regularly.