Cambodian Casino Shut Down for Allowing Cockfight Betting

cockfight betting

Cambodian police have raided and shut down yet another casino accused of staging cockfight bets. Global 69, the latest casualty in the war on illegal and immoral betting, is located in Memot District in the Tboung Province. The establishment was raided by both provincial and military police in an apparent show of concern. However, it may all be for show.

A Slap on the Wrist

Although the latest crackdown has generated a lot of attention, details about it are inconsistent and even contradictory. The Khmer Times reported that more than 100 people were arrested in connection with the illegal gambling and even named its owners and managers as among the detained. However, the Phnom Penh Post later contradicted this story, reporting that the owners somehow escaped the raid.

It has also been reported that the closure may only be temporary and that the owners and managers may be punished with nothing more than small fines. This is despite the fact that the raid and closure were ordered by the court and that there was a show of force.

These reports have gone down badly with the residents, most of whom have been disgruntled with the casino for some time. Most of the local residents voiced their displeasure online, as well as on news outlets, accusing the authorities of complicity in the illegal gambling activities. This has been a common occurrence in many cases thanks to inadequate regulation and corruption. To this end, this is just one case among many in the past that have taken a similar course, and many more similar cases are expected in the future.

A Gruesome yet Popular Activity

Cockfights are wildly popular in Cambodia both for the thrill involved, as well as for the opportunity to make money on wagers. The government has policies in place restricting cockfights, but these policies are so lax that even licensed casinos tend to stage cockfights.

The negative aspect of cockfighting lies in the gruesome nature of the activity. Cocks are raised for the purpose of fighting. Fights are usually to the death –the dominant cock pecks the other to death, sometimes with bloody results. A lot of chanting is also involved with an air of insensitivity, considering that cockfighting qualifies as animal rights abuse. Recently, another casino named Rock Casino went as far as streaming a bloody cockfight live via the Internet in a bid to attract more bettors, which it successfully did. The video received thousands of views and is still available online, Authorities are still not aware of its existence because casinos come up with more tricks to mask their activities. This is fast becoming a common occurrence as casinos seek to take as much advantage of the lax laws as possible.

An Isolated Activity

Cambodia’s border with Vietnam is dotted with many casinos, most of which are small scale. The government doesn’t do a good job of overseeing these casinos, and that gives them the chance to break the law every once in a while. However, it is expected that the recent spate of closures of casinos staging and permitting cockfight betting will attract the attention of the mainland and bring more meaningful action. In the meantime, locals in Memot District will have to tolerate Global 69 for a while longer because it may be open for business again soon.

That said, cockfighting is still popular and prevalent across Cambodia and especially entrenched in the countryside. This has prompted animal rights organizations in the country and beyond to call for action, terming the practice as backward and immoral.

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