PHNOM PENH 27 August 2019: Naga Corp that runs two gaudy gold casino resorts in Phnom Penh’s is now poised to go ahead and build a third, a massive integrated resort that will include more than 4,000 rooms.
NagaCorp shareholders gave the Naga 3 project the nod on Monday, according to a report in Khmer Times. Naga 1 and 2 are fully operational with convention centres, casinos and hotels.
The daily online newspaper showed artist’s impressions and computer-generated images of a gaudy high-rise development that looks as if it was plucked from the arid sandy soil of Las Vegas.
The decision to go ahead was made by the Hong Kong-listed Nagacorp (HKSE 3018) following an extraordinary general meeting earlier this month. According to the Khmer Times, the so-called Naga 3 project will be the single largest private sector investment in Cambodia, “if not in the Mekong region.”
Naga 3 joins two other projects Naga 1 and 2 reflecting the company’s ambition to deliver to an almost quaint riverside Phnom Penh the “world’s largest riverine integrated resort in the world.”
The new project will cost an estimated USD3.5 billion price, excluding the cost of land.
According to Khmer Times, Naga 3 will cover 544,801 square metres and feature an additional 4,720 hotel rooms to the NagaWorld Complex that offers entertainment facilities and convention centres.
The inspiration to build so many rooms has its roots in the Ministry of Tourism that insists the Cambodian capital will be short of 100,000 rooms by 2025, a guess estimate based on claims Chinese visits will exceed 5.5 million by then.
According to Khmer Times, NagaWorld group is already one of the biggest employers in Cambodia. Naga 1 and Naga 2 have 8,600 employees. Naga 3 will be three times the size of Naga 1 and Naga 2 combined and will need around 18,000 employees when completed.
Despite the increase in casinos in Cambodia — 150 licenses awarded at the end of last year, up from 98 in 2017 — the government collects no more than USD56 million from the sector. NagaCorp reported paying USD8.8 million, last year, around 2% of declared profits.