This paper analyses a French document entitled “Affaire des jeux a Kompong-Cham ── un théatre chinois pour divertir la population.” in the possession of the National Archive in Phnom Penh （Document No. 9454）， compiling investigative materials of the gambling hall held by a Chinese merchant in Kompong-Cham city during the Khmer New Year season in 1916.
Kompong-Cham is the third city of the Kingdom of Cambodia today， being located midstream along the Mekong River. It came into existence rather recently and appeared in a French record for the first time in 1881.When steamships were introduced into the Mekong River in the late 19th century， however， the port of Kompong-Cham was chosen as a way station between Phnom-Penh and Kracheh， and its hinterland attracted a great deal of interest as the granary of Cambodia in accordance with the progress of transportation. Since the French colonial authority installed a Residence in Kompong-Cham in 1898， a great number of Chinese merchants had flowed in and built a commercial district where tiled shophouses stood in a row along streets around a market. The owner of the house where the gamble in question went on was a Chinese merchant S， who was 32 years old in 1916， therefore supposed to be born somewhere outside of Kompong-Cham and immigrated into the new town born on the midstream of the Mekong River as a youth with his parents. Because he signed to the statement in Chinese characters， his communicative ability in Cambodian or French can not be proved from this document.
The main exports from Kompong-Cham in those days were rice and fish and S himself was a merchant of paddy as well as a farmer of fishery. The season between Chinese New Year in February and Khmer New Year in April was a busy season of exporting paddy and fish， and also of gambling， because local colonial authority connived at gambling indoors for this period of New Year. S’s gambling house attracted customers from all the provinces along the Mekong River between Phnom-Penh and Kracheh， including European colonial officials in Kompong-Cham city. The inspector found that European officials vaguely believed that gambling was a “charity for war” and S just wanted to earn cash to pay the license fee of fishery of that year.
Colonial officials were the only European inhabitants of local cities in Cambodia in contrast to Chinese merchants who made up a majority of urban population. The French Resident controlling the district of Kompong-Cham did not arm himself to suppress gamblers and had not much incentive to do that as long as the resource for the license fee of fishery was ensured by running a gambling house.
This essay examines the changes in regulatory control of gambling, especially illegal lotteries, in the Philippines. There, as in other modern states, the government has regarded gambling as problematic immoral behavior since the colonial era and has operated legal forms of gambling while prohibiting other forms. However, once democratic politics was introduced during the American colonial era, illegal lotteries expanded as a source of campaign funds, protected by corrupt politicians and polices. Since then, illegal lotteries have gained nationwide popularity, and illegal gambling syndicates have grown to be important political financers. Although the central government has resisted corruption by creating and promoting state-run gambling, all attempts to eliminate illegal activities have failed; even presidents have been corrupted and have benefited from the illegal market. To overcome a hotbed of corruption and reduce illegal activities, the current Philippine government led by President Duterte is strongly seeking to secure a monopoly over all forms of gambling in the country. Duterte’s policy of legalizing illegal lotteries is intended to monopolize a huge source of political funds generated by the gambling market.