Gamblers crossing border to play in Cambodia

At the Moc Bai border gate in the southern province of Tay Ninh there are over ten groups of ‘brokers’ who bring Vietnamese gamblers to Cambodia’s casinos. Every weekend, 600-700 cross the border for gambling.

At a very hot noon of Tay Ninh as a coach from HCM City’s Ben Thanh to Tay Ninh’s Moc Bai has just stopped, tens of young men surrounded the coach and delivered name cards of Cambodian casinos to passengers. They spoke incessantly: “Please cross the border to gamble. I’ll bring you to casinos and bring you back home safely. It is only VND 400,000 for the whole package service”.

Giving passengers on the coach red and green name cards of various casinos like Le Macao, Kings Crown, Volvo Mocbai, New World, and Las Vegas in Cambodia’s Svay Rieng province, a young boy named Tuan said: “If you have passport, I will bring you to Cambodia free of charge. If not, I will help you to fulfill all formalities, just pay me some tips”.

Tuan said that ‘brokers’ like him know this border area like the back of their hand. Gamblers who have passports can cross the border by the official road and the others by tracks.

“Sometimes I bring up to 20 gamblers across the border without passports. You will be welcomed and picked up by cars at the other side of border. Food and accommodations are free. There are American style sexy-shows each Thursday,” Tuan said.

According to this guy, each ‘broker’ works for a boss and earns USD 100 per months, plus gamblers’ tip.

In 2005, there were only four casinos in Baves commune, Chan-tria district, Svay Rieng province, and now there are seven. Located not very far from the Moc Bai border, those casinos lure many Vietnamese gamblers.

According to some local agencies, around 250-300 Vietnamese people go to Cambodia to gamble each day and the number is 600-700 at the weekend.