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Cambodia orders casinos to close

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered the closure of all casinos in the country to halt the spread of the coronavirus and said the Finance Ministry will work with the operators on tax exemptions during the time they are closed.

The properties will suspend operations from April 1st, according to local media reports, with no timeframe given for reopening. 

The shutdown follows four new cases of the virus being discovered, taking the total to 107. One of the cases was a 30-year old man who had worked in a casino and karaoke club in the northwest, close to the Thai border.

Cambodia has the highest number of casinos in Asia, with 136 licenses granted as of 2019. According to government figures, 133 were operating, though some have since closed down after a ban online gaming took effect from the beginning of this year.

Casinos across Asia have been forced to close, or significantly scale back operations as a result of the crisis. Summit Ascent has announced its Tigre de Cristal in Russia will be shutting its doors, while Singapore has tightened entry requirements to permit only loyalty card holders and those who have paid an annual levy. Casinos in Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Saipan, South Korea, India and Nepal have also closed. 

Macau remains open, but with stringent border controls in place, visitation is minimal.

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