This is a story that provides a a real beacon of optimism and will sustain the theory that blockchain is a technology that provides opportunity for the poorer communities on the globe. Cambodia is ranked the 14th least wealthy nation in the world according to Focus Economics data, and is forecast to be the 12th poorest in 2023.
And yet, in this nation where 90% of citizens are employed in hand-to-mouth agriculture – sustained by a single harvest a year – an incredibly exciting project that could help revolutionise the gambling industry and improve its ethical standing is being developed.
Entrepreneur Jment Lim is establishing a brand called Mr Lucky, which aims to directly tackle the problem of gambling addiction by creating a completely new and socially sustainable model. Mr Lim’s model provides a platform in which players can experience the thrill of betting, while gaining a much stronger awareness of the material value of the money they are risking when compared with traditional betting mediums.
The bets placed with Mr Lucky, which could be through digital betting platforms or at bricks-and-mortar casinos, are paid for with digital tokens called MLTs (Mr Lucky Tokens). Different types of tokens are issued depending on how much players have staked in a particular game. The players then have the right to collect profits from the tokens they are holding in their wallets, but only on specific dates, which have carefully been set for each type of token and registered in smart contracts.
In this way, Mr Lucky intends to eradicate problem gambling, since all players would always have a secondary source of income to finance their livelihood. A safety net would be constructed ensuring they do not invest too much of the funds they need to pay bills, raise families, save for the future and so on.
Mr. Lim’s project is fully committed to applying a fintech solution to a real-life problem. Through solid corporate governance, the goal is to turn the casino ecosystem into a better one, incorporating players, shareholders and other stakeholders in this industry revolution. The idea is to start locally in Cambodia and, over time, expand to Macao, Las Vegas and possibly hit the international scene. The idea is that it will be a model that will be replicated globally.
Already in Cambodia, most successful businesses in the manufacturing, construction and gambling industries make consistent profit margins thanks to tax advantages, which are usually the result of successful negotiations with the Government. These tax breaks are often achieved through corrupt means, and companies also exploit women and children, paying them a tiny hourly wage in return for their work. Often children are unwillingly forced into cheap labour by parents desperate for extra income.
Companies acting in these nefarious ways often then scale up and are able to takes advantage of innovation and cutting-edge technologies – and at this point their poorly-paid, low-skilled workforce is either dispensed with or driven to work even harder in increasingly unsuitable roles.
Fortunately, not all of Cambodia’s most influential entrepreneurs have adopted this purely profit-oriented strategy; among the more virtuous of them is Mr. Lim, who has opened his eyes to the country’s worrying situation. His business runs on the motto “do good for the good.” His blockchain-based project will be fully funded through balance sheet reserves but above all through multiple IEOs (Initial Exchange Offerings), with an unprecedented hard cap of US$1.4 billion.
Mr. Lim and his team are keen to point out that some of the Mr Lucky tokens will not be offered in the IEOs. Instead, they will be allocated for free to the numerous employees of their casinos, so they can have access to the highly technical system it is pioneering. With maximum transparency guaranteed by the blockchain, these employees will be offered a significant percentage of the net profits of the whole business. In a country where 41% of the population live on less than $2 a day, this is an exciting development indeed.