There is an interesting background to the Cambodia casinos that lie just across the border from neighboring Thailand, where casino gambling is illegal. Eight casinos are situated in a relatively small area in the city of Poipet in Cambodia. This conclave of Cambodia casinos is in a prime location, a three to four drive from Bangkok and Macao, the two biggest gambling centers in Asia. Cambodia casinos do a thriving business with Thai workers and visitors from Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore, with only very few Westerners. The phenomenal income gained from the casinos ranges from $7.5 million to over 12.5 million, and there are few restrictions or registration requirements for casino ownership. Ownership is presumed to be largely Thai; however, investment sources are vague. The borders are officially open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and although visas are supposedly required to cross, there are ways around this, as is true of most border crossings.
The first Cambodia casinos opened in Phnom Penh in 1994, but were forced to close in 1998, leaving only one casino in the capital, the Naga Resort. The Naga, a stationary boat casino, features 150 slots and sixty table games. The Naga casino is open 24 hours with 42 tables of mini-baccarat, four tables of blackjack, NagaPoker 10 of roulette, two of Caribbean Stud Poker, and one each of Pai-Gow and Tai-Sai.
The first casino in Poipet, the Holiday Palace, opened in 1999 and the Golden Crown soon followed. There are 150 slots and five table games at the Golden Crown and 104 slots and 68 table games at the Holiday Palace. The newer Holiday Palace Casino and Resort features 300 slots and 70 table games and the Princess Hotel and Casino, also in Poipet, has 166 slots and 96 gaming tables, including 87 baccarat (the most popular game), Fan Tan, and Pai Gow. In addition, there is the Casino Tropicana, with 135 slots and 66 of the familiar table games, as well as one table of Casino Stud Poker. Another one of the eight casinos in Poipet, also in a hotel, is the Princess Casino with 166 slots and 97 games. The Star Vegas Casino is part of an international resort and hotel complex that features a number of amenities in addition to the casino, which has 10,000 square feet of 130 slots and 88 table games.
Across the Cambodian border at Asmech/Surin is one casino, the Casino O Samet, with 100 slots and 50 tables of baccarat. In addition, the Koh Kong Casino, in the province of Trat, is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., with 100 slots and four table games. A smaller casino, Le Macau Casino and Hotel, opened recently at Bavet on the Vietnamese border.