In Cambodia most forms of gambling are prohibited under Kram January 26, 1996. In 2002, an exception was made when a company called CamboSix was given a 9-year license to be the sole legal bookmaker in our country. As the only fully legal option for Khmer locals to gamble it was popular. However, on February 24, 2009 Prime Minister Hun Sen terminated their license 2-years early stating their operation had been responsible for moral decline in the Kingdom. They were forced to close their 20 shops the very next day.
Although sports betting has been illegal here for half a decade now, it remains as popular as ever. Cockfighting is also huge! It is even televised locally and is enjoyed by people throughout Cambodia. The same is true with Pradal Serey (Khmer Kickboxing). During festivals, bets can be made on Dragon Boat Racing, and even friendly games of Sepak takraw might sometimes have wagering involved. However, the most popular team sport to bet on is without a doubt football. The best way to do this is by using foreign online bookies.
In Cambodia we have many options for placing a bet on football matches. These include bookies based out of Poipet and local agents. I am also aware of underground gambling shops in Phnom Penh, Kampong Cham, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, and Samraong. These options are all illegal, as is placing bets through domestic websites.
If you are looking for legal football betting, the only option is to use foreign bookmakers that have no physical presence at all in Cambodia. For this the sites I’ve below are by far the best:
The biggest problem we face in Cambodia is that most bookmaker’s websites do not support Khmer language. If you run into any language pages that you don’t understand, then : Google translate can help. As well as the language barrier, the options for depositing are also far more limited than in other countries. However, things are becoming easier every day and we now have far more options than we had a few years ago.
The most popular way to deposit is using bank transfer. This can be done online or by visiting your local bank branch and sending money. However, this does not work all the time as some banks block these transfers. If you cannot send by bank transfer then the option below will work 100% of the time.
For anyone who spends a lot of time online or who buys from eBay, you have probably heard of Paypal. Skrill is a similar service to Paypal, but they support gambling. Many professional and recreational gamblers use Skrill for depositing and withdrawing their money online. Signing up is simple.
To begin with, visit www.skrill.com and register a new account. You can then put money into your account using a credit card, debit card or bank transfer. Skrill works in a similar way to online banking. After you have funded your account, you can then move that money around. For example, you can use Skrill to deposit to DafaBet. If you want to withdraw your money, you simply choose Skrill as the withdrawal option and they will process the transaction in 1-2 days. When you want to withdraw from Skrill, you simply click the cashout button and the money will be wired to your bank account.
To make sure the process is clear: the websites I’ve recommended above are legitimate, safe and fully legal. They all hold government-issued licenses in foreign countries such as the United Kingdom where betting is fully legal. However, they are not credit bookies. If you want to bet, you first need to have money in your account. Bank transfers and Skrill are the only 2 options currently available in Cambodia. Even money transfer services such as Western Union and Moneygram are not available.
Although using e-wallets involves some extra work, what I just suggested is the safest option. There are however other sites that can be used.
Although in almost all of our country gambling is illegal there is an exception. Poipet is a special economic zone in the north west of Cambodia that borders Thailand. Here there are casinos, brothels, and practically no laws. The casinos operate in Thailand Baht (THB) as opposed to Cambodian riel (KHR). While technically locals are supposed to be banned from gambling, this is not enforced. Although the main “visible” attraction is casinos – football betting shops can be found throughout Poipet both in and outside of the casinos – high street bookmaker shops similar to what you would see in Europe can be easily found throughout the town.
Football betting shops such as those pictured above are widespread in Poipet in spite of being illegal.
Poipet is famous in the sports betting world as the bookies located there set the odds for games in a number of smaller international football leagues. UK bookies set the odds for the major soccer competitions such as the EPL, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1. But for leagues such as Torneo Descentralizado from Peru, Effodeildin from the Faroe Islands and the hundreds of other smaller leagues around the globe, a lot of the odds originate from bookies based in Cambodia and the Philippines.
Most of the bookies operating in Poipet have physical shops where you can place a bet or watch a game. The majority run their own websites too. These are licensed in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport in the Philippines, one of the biggest gambling commissions in Asia. They take huge numbers of bets online as well as by phone.
For the most part, bookies based out of Poipet are usually safe. If you win, they will pay and most agents not dare cross them. However, the risk of being caught increases when using these sites. This is a concern because during the last World Cup and European Championship (Euro) Prime Minister Hun Sen was very direct in urging people not to gamble. He also warned that anybody caught doing it could be fined or even imprisoned.
A quick search using words such as “Cambodia sports betting police arrest” (without the quotes) at www.google.com.kh will show hundreds of examples that reflect the risks of using illegal bookies. Meanwhile, overseas bookies offer all the same options, but without the legal risks.
There is one final option worth mentioning. www.188bet.com is a Philippines based bookie that actually supports Khmer language and has a number of deposit options we can use. These include bank transfer (which can be done in person or online) and Wing Money deposits.
If you don’t speak much English or you just prefer using Khmer sites, then 188bet is an excellent choice. Recently www.sbobet.com have also added Khmer language support too, so they may also be worth considering. Before I finish up, I just want to reiterate: Foreign bookies with no presence in Cambodia, are entirely safe to use. DafaBet,