The government issued a directive which aims to strengthen control over illegal lotteries, which have recently been reported to be operating in the community.

The Commercial Gambling Management of Cambodia (CGMC) secretariat issued the directive, which focuses on licensed lottery operators and their sub-branches, and the measures that authorities can employ take action.

The directive, signed on February 19 by Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth, head of the CGMC, states that those who hold licences for this kind of business must follow the conditions of their licence. They may only operate their business in the area specified, and must display their brand name and an authentic permission letter – or verified copy – at their headquarters and all branches.

“Should a lottery operator fail to abide by these regulations, the CGMC will regard the operation as illegal, and the operators will face legal penalties. These may include the suspension or revocation of their licence, and possible further legal action,” it said.

The directive instructed local authorities to conduct regular inspections of lottery businesses across the country and prosecute anyone found to be breaching the conditions of their licence.

They should also keep a close eye on all lottery operators, to ensure they are not providing additional, illegal gambling services.

Social development researcher Meas Nee supported the new measures, but suggested the government provide clear definitions of what kinds of gambling are legal, and which are illegal.

He noted that a series of gambling clampdown which took place last year did not appear to have a lasting effect on reducing the problem.

Nee encouraged the introduction of more effective measures to combat gambling.

Cambodian Institute for Democracy president Pa Chanroeun also backed the government’s commitment to continue to quash fight gambling. He noted that he has seen it spread across the country, all the way down to the local community level.

He cautioned that the effectiveness of recent crackdowns seemed questionable, however, and encouraged concerted action, both from the public and the authorities.

On February 14, Prime Minister Hun Manet instructed the authorities across the country to crack down on illegal gambling, especially lotteries.

The capital and several provincial administrations have taken action accordingly, according to updates published on their social media channels.