How Cambodia’s backpacker haven became a Chinese casino mecca

by KhmerLife on Oct 14, 2019

How Cambodia’s backpacker haven became a Chinese casino mecca

Sihanoukville now has over 100 casinos, although most are small operations.

In Sihanoukville’s Jin Bei Casino & Hotel, young Cambodian women wearing tight mini-skirts swerve through the thick cigarette smoke, carrying turquoise cocktails for Chinese gamblers. A dozen croupiers work the room, picking up thick wads of notes from the players and converting them into plastic tokens. “I earn $500 per month,” says one croupier — a small fortune in a country where the�minimum wage�is just $170 a month. Most players here are betting big, with the smallest token worth $100.Once a quiet seaside haven for backpackers, Sihanoukville has morphed into a giant construction site in the past three years. Cranes dot the skyline, roads have become muddy potholed lanes and jackhammers resonate late into the night. Many of the new buildings are casinos. The province hosting the city on Cambodia’s south coast now boasts�88 of them, compared to�15 in late 2015.

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