Jin Ding Casino Closed by Cambodian Officials for Several Offenses
Jin Ding Hotel and Casino was ordered to close by provincial officials in Cambodia after those officials accused the casino of pumping raw sewage into the ocean. Jin Ding Hotel & Casino is located on Koh Rong Samloem Island, which is located 2 miles off the coast of Sihanoukville, Cambodia.
The complaints do not stop at leaking sewage with the Jin Ding Hotel & Casino. According to Radio Free Asia, local have accused the resort of strewing garbage along Otres Beach, while also blaring out loud music all hours of the day and night.
Regional authorities also have accused the casino of promoting illegal online gambling, though that is banned in the country. It is legal for the Jin Ding Casino to host land-based gaming, though Cambodian residents cannot play legally in the casino.
Instead, Jim Ding Casino draws high-end gamblers from China. Reports suggest that the casino has transformed from a traditional foreign gambling hub into a den of iniquity due to few gaming regulations and almost-nonexistent money laundering controls.
70 Cambodian Casinos in Short Time
Cambodia now has over 70 land-based casinos, with most of those operations springing up in the past two years alone. Local resent the Chinese-owned businesses, because they bring with them Chinese immigration (for casino jobs) and even more tourism.
Making matters worse is the wave of Chinese tourists has driven up local prices, so many of the traditional tourists — who tend to be Australian or American millennials on a budget trip — cannot afford the hotel, restaurant, and travel expenses in the area.
Traditional Tourists Driven Away
Because Chinese tourists tend to frequent Chinese-owned establishments, the traditional Cambodian restaurants and gift shops no longer have a customer base.
As Cambodian storefronts and eateries close, a sense of resentment against the Chinese tourists and business owners grow.
Meas Ny, a Cambodian political analyst, explained the social dynamics to Voa Cambodia. Professor Ny said, “With most development projects run by Chinese, social dialogue usually does not happen. They don’t care to ask about local concerns until huge impacts take place — and they solve it later.”
Chinese Investment in Cambodia
The new businesses are a small part of the much large Belt-and-Road Initiative which the Chinese government is promoting around the globe. Chinese investors bring money and development into an area, buying land and property and erecting businesses — including casino-resorts.
On one hand, the businesses generate casino jobs for Cambodians as dealers and wait staff. On the other hand, the resorts tend to hire Chinese nationals to serve as management and high-skilled roles. Over time, residents tend to view the investments negatively, because it trades entrepreneurial jobs for worker jobs, while marginalizing the locals.
In many cases, businesses spring up before officials can enact regulations to control growth and development. The case of Jin Ding Hotel and Casino is somewhat different, though.
77 Complaints Filed by Residents
Y Thearin, a spokesman for the provincial government, told the Phnom Penh Post that 77 different Cambodian individuals and families had filed complaints against Jin Ding Hotel. The number of complaints was large enough — and the nature of the reports alarming enough — that officials told Jin Ding’s owners they must close by March 22.
Whether that is the end of the matter is unknown. It is possible the casino’s executives might clean up the area and clean up their act. Or they might go higher up the chain of officials to reverse the decision. Bribery is known to happen in official channels, as in much of the rest of the world.
One reason that might not happen, though, is the fact raw sewage has shown up on the mainland on Sihanoukville’s beaches. Given Koh Rong Samloem is an island, mainlanders might not be aware of the troubles normally. The island is close enough to the mainland that sewage has appeared on the shoreline, which means the problem is known widely to Sihanoukville’s leaders.
Sok Sokhom: “Rain Down on Casinos”
Sok Sokhom, the director of Cambodian National Research Organisation (CNRO), applauded local officials and told The Post he hopes the decision is the first of many. Mr. Sokhom said he hoped officials would “rain down on other casinos who fail to abide by the law.”
The CNRO director said he hopes the government would “implement measures like this strictly as a warning to owners of other hotels and buildings. I also ask the authority to inspect all casinos, guesthouses, hotels, and important sites in order to prevent them [from] doing as they please.”