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How to Gamble in O Smach: A Traveler's Guide to Cambodia's Casino Town

O Smach is a small town on the Thai border that offers a unique gambling experience

If you are looking for a different and exciting way to gamble, you might want to consider visiting O Smach, a small town on the Thai-Cambodian border that has a strip of casinos catering to Thai nationals who want to gamble legally in Cambodia. Gambling is illegal in Thailand, but legal in Cambodia, although only for foreign passport holders. This arrangement allows Thai citizens to cross the border, gamble in O Smach, and return to Thailand without having to go through Cambodian immigration.

O Smach is not your typical casino destination. It is located in a remote and rural area, surrounded by the Dângrêk Mountains, and has a history of being a former Khmer Rouge stronghold. The town is not very developed, and the casinos are mostly low-end and low-key, with a mix of slot machines, table games, and sports betting. The atmosphere is casual and friendly, and the prices are cheap and negotiable.

O Smach is not for everyone. It is not a place for luxury seekers, high rollers, or faint-hearted travelers. It is a place for adventurous gamblers who want to experience a different culture, a different landscape, and a different thrill. In this guide, we will tell you everything you need to know about how to gamble in O Smach, what to expect, and what to avoid. We will also give you some tips on how to make the most of your trip, and how to stay safe and have fun.

How to Get to O Smach

O Smach is located in the Samraong Municipality of Oddar Meanchey Province, about 41 kilometers north of the provincial capital of Samraong, and about 200 kilometers northwest of Siem Reap, the gateway to Angkor Wat. The town is accessible by road from both Thailand and Cambodia, but the road conditions are not very good, and the journey can be long and bumpy.

From Thailand

The easiest way to get to O Smach from Thailand is to take a bus or a minivan from Bangkok to Surin, a province in northeastern Thailand that borders Cambodia. The journey takes about 6 to 7 hours, and costs about 300 to 400 baht (about 10 to 13 USD). From Surin, you can take another bus or a minivan to Chong Chom, a town that is adjacent to O Smach on the Thai side of the border. The journey takes about an hour, and costs about 50 to 100 baht (about 2 to 3 USD).

Alternatively, you can take a train from Bangkok to Surin, which takes about 8 to 9 hours, and costs about 200 to 500 baht (about 7 to 17 USD), depending on the class and the service. From Surin, you can take a bus or a minivan to Chong Chom as described above.

Once you reach Chong Chom, you can walk across the border to O Smach, which is only about 500 meters away. You will need to show your passport and get a stamp at the Thai immigration checkpoint, but you do not need to go through the Cambodian immigration checkpoint, as you are only visiting the casino strip, which is considered a duty-free zone. You can also exchange your Thai baht for US dollars or Cambodian riel at the border, as these are the currencies used in the casinos.

From Cambodia

The easiest way to get to O Smach from Cambodia is to take a bus or a taxi from Siem Reap, the most popular tourist destination in the country, famous for its ancient temples. The journey takes about 4 to 5 hours, and costs about 10 to 15 USD for a bus ticket, or about 50 to 80 USD for a taxi. You will need to take Road 68, which turns north off National Highway 6 at Kravanh in Siem Reap Province. The road is paved, but not very well maintained, and can be dusty and bumpy.

Alternatively, you can take a bus or a taxi from Phnom Penh, the capital and largest city of Cambodia, which has more options for transportation and accommodation. The journey takes about 7 to 8 hours, and costs about 15 to 20 USD for a bus ticket, or about 100 to 150 USD for a taxi. You will need to take National Highway 5, which goes north from Phnom Penh to Battambang, and then take Road 57, which goes west to Samraong, and then take Road 68, which goes north to O Smach.

Once you reach O Smach, you can check in to one of the casino hotels, or find a guesthouse or a homestay in the town. You will need to show your passport and get a stamp at the Cambodian immigration checkpoint, but you do not need to go through the Thai immigration checkpoint, as you are only visiting the casino strip, which is considered a duty-free zone. You can also exchange your US dollars or Cambodian riel for Thai baht at the border, as these are the currencies used in the casinos.

How to Gamble in O Smach

O Smach has a strip of casinos that are located between the Cambodian and Thai passport control counters, which are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The casinos are mostly owned and operated by Thai or Chinese investors, and cater to Thai or Chinese gamblers, who make up the majority of the customers. The casinos are not very large or glamorous, and have a variety of games, such as slot machines, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, poker, and sports betting. The casinos are not very strict or regulated, and have a casual and friendly atmosphere, where you can gamble with low stakes and negotiate the prices and the rules.

What to Expect

Here are some things to expect when you gamble in O Smach:

  • You will need to show your passport and get a stamp at the immigration checkpoints, both when you enter and when you exit the casino strip. You do not need a visa or a fee to enter the casino strip, as it is considered a duty-free zone. However, you will need a visa and a fee to enter the rest of Cambodia or Thailand, if you plan to do so.
  • You will need to exchange your currency at the border, as the casinos use Thai baht as the main currency, and US dollars or Cambodian riel as the secondary currency. The exchange rates are not very favorable, and you may be charged a commission or a fee. You can also use your credit card or debit card at some of the casinos, but you may be charged a surcharge or a fee. It is advisable to bring enough cash with you, and keep it in a safe place.
  • You will need to pay an entrance fee to enter some of the casinos, which ranges from 100 to 500 baht (about 3 to 17 USD), depending on the casino and the time of the day. The entrance fee may include some free drinks, snacks, or coupons. You can also get a membership card at some of the casinos, which may give you some discounts or benefits, such as free parking, free wifi, or free shuttle service.
  • You will need to follow the dress code and the etiquette of the casinos, which are not very formal or strict, but still require some respect and decency. You should wear clean and comfortable clothes, and avoid wearing shorts, sandals, or hats. You should also avoid being loud, rude, or drunk, and respect the staff and the other players. You should also tip the dealers and the servers, as it is customary and expected.
  • You will need to be aware of the games and the rules of the casinos, which are not very standard or consistent, and may vary from casino to casino, or even from table to table. You should ask the staff or the other players for clarification, and negotiate the prices and the rules before you start playing. You should also check the payouts and the odds of the games, and avoid playing the games that have a high house edge or a low return to player. You should also set a budget and a limit for yourself, and stop playing when you reach them.

What to Avoid

Here are some things to avoid when you gamble in O Smach:

  • You should avoid gambling with the locals, as they may be scammers or hustlers, who may cheat or trick you into losing your money. You should also avoid gambling with the police or the military, as they may be corrupt or violent, and may extort or harass you. You should only gamble with the foreigners, who are mostly Thai or Chinese, and who are more likely to be honest and fair.
  • You should avoid gambling with the illegal or underground casinos, which are not licensed or regulated by the authorities, and which may operate in shady or hidden locations, such as back alleys, basements, or warehouses. These casinos may have rigged or tampered games, unfair or unclear rules, or violent or criminal staff or customers. You may also face legal or safety risks if you get caught or involved in any trouble. You should only gamble with the legal or official casinos, which are located on the main strip, and which have signs and logos.
  • You should avoid gambling with the online or mobile casinos, which are not reliable or trustworthy, and which may have malware or viruses, phishing or hacking, or fraud or scams. You may also face technical or connectivity issues, or lose your data or money. You should only gamble with the offline or land-based casinos, which are more secure and stable, and which have physical and human presence.
  • You should avoid gambling with the drugs or alcohol, which are not good for your health or judgment, and which may impair your ability or performance, or cause addiction or dependency. You may also face legal or safety risks if you get caught or involved in any trouble. You should only gamble with moderation and responsibility, and keep yourself hydrated and alert.

How to Make the Most of Your Trip

O Smach is not only a gambling destination, but also a cultural and natural destination, where you can explore and enjoy the local life and scenery. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your trip:

  • You should visit the O Smach Resort, which is the largest and most luxurious casino hotel in O Smach, and which offers a range of facilities and services, such as a swimming pool, a spa, a gym, a restaurant, a bar, a nightclub, a karaoke, a cinema, a shopping mall, and a golf course. You can also stay at the hotel, which has comfortable and spacious rooms, with air conditioning, wifi, cable TV, and minibar. The hotel also has a free shuttle service that can take you to and from the border.
  • You should visit the O Smach Waterfall, which is a natural attraction that is located about 10 kilometers south of O Smach, and which is accessible by motorbike or bicycle. The waterfall is a beautiful and refreshing sight, where you can swim, picnic, or relax. The waterfall is also a sacred site, where you can see a statue of Buddha and a pagoda, and where you can make offerings or prayers.
  • You should visit the O Smach Market, which is a local market that is located near the border, and which is open every day from 6 am to 6 pm. The market is a lively and colorful place, where you can buy and sell a variety of goods, such as fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, clothes, electronics, souvenirs, and more. The market is also a great place to taste and experience the local cuisine, such as fried insects, grilled chicken, sticky rice, and more.
  • You should visit the O Smach Community, which is a rural community that is located around O Smach, and which is composed of mostly ethnic Khmer people, who live in traditional wooden houses, and who practice farming, fishing, or handicrafts. The community is a friendly and hospitable place, where you can interact and learn from the locals, and where you can join or observe their daily activities, such as cooking, weaving, dancing, or singing. You can also stay at a guesthouse or a homestay in the community, which can give you a more authentic and immersive experience.

How to Stay Safe and Have Fun

O Smach is a safe and fun place to gamble, but it also has some risks and challenges that you need to be aware of and prepared for. Here are some tips on how to stay safe and have fun:

  • You should bring your passport and a photocopy of it, and keep it in a safe place. You will need your passport to enter and exit the casino strip, and to prove your identity and nationality. You should also bring some cash and a credit card or debit card, and keep them in a safe place. You will need cash to gamble and to pay for things, and you will need a credit card or debit card as a backup or an emergency.
  • You should check the weather and the road conditions before you travel to O Smach, and plan accordingly. The weather in O Smach can be hot and humid, or cold and rainy, depending on the season and the time of the day. You should dress appropriately and bring some sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, umbrella, or raincoat. The road conditions in O Smach can be rough and bumpy, or muddy and slippery, depending on the weather and the maintenance. You should drive carefully and slowly, and bring some spare tires, tools, or water.
  • You should respect the culture and the customs of the people in O Smach, and follow the laws and the regulations of the countries in O Smach. You should dress modestly and conservatively, and avoid showing too much skin or affection. You should also greet and thank the people with a smile and a bow, and avoid touching their heads or feet. You should also avoid talking about politics, religion, or history, and avoid criticizing or insulting the leaders or the symbols of the countries. You should also avoid gambling on Buddhist holidays, such as Vesak or Pchum Ben, as it is considered disrespectful and unlucky.
  • You should be careful and cautious when you gamble in O Smach, and avoid any trouble or conflict. You should only gamble with the legal or official casinos, and avoid the illegal or underground casinos. You should also only gamble with the foreigners, and avoid the locals, the police, or the military. You should also only gamble with moderation and responsibility, and avoid gambling with the drugs or alcohol. You should also set a budget and a limit for yourself, and stop playing when you reach them. You should also keep your winnings and your losses to yourself, and avoid bragging or complaining.

Conclusion

O Smach is a small town on the Thai-Cambodian border that offers a unique gambling experience for adventurous travelers. It is a place where you can gamble legally and cheaply, and where you can enjoy a different culture and scenery. It is also a place where you need to be prepared and careful, and where you need to respect and follow the rules. If you are looking for a different and exciting way to gamble, you might want to consider visiting O Smach, and follow this guide to make the most of your trip.

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about gambling in O Smach:

  • Q: Do I need a visa to enter O Smach?

  • A: No, you do not need a visa to enter the casino strip in O Smach, as it is considered a duty-free zone. However, you will need a visa to enter the rest of Cambodia or Thailand, if you plan to do so.

  • Q: What are the best casinos in O Smach?

  • A: The best casinos in O Smach are the O Smach Resort, which is the largest and most luxurious casino hotel in O Smach, and the Crown Casino, which is the most popular and crowded casino in O Smach. Both casinos offer a variety of games, facilities, and services, and have a good reputation and quality.

  • Q: What are the best times to visit O Smach?

  • A: The best times to visit O Smach are from November to February, which are the cool and dry months, and from March to May, which are the hot and dry months. These are the best times to enjoy the weather and the road conditions in O Smach, and to avoid the rainy and muddy months from June to October.

  • Q: What are the best things to do in O Smach besides gambling?

  • A: The best things to do in O Smach besides gambling are to visit the O Smach Waterfall, which is a natural and sacred attraction, to visit the O Smach Market, which is a local and lively place, and to visit the O Smach Community, which is a rural and friendly place.

  • Q: What are the best tips to win in O Smach?

  • A: The best tips to win in O Smach are to do your research and know the games and the rules, to negotiate the prices and the rules, to check the payouts and the odds, to avoid the games that have a high house edge or a low return to player, to set a budget and a limit, and to stop playing when you reach them.

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