In a recent move towards casino the Nepal cabinet relaxes casino location requirements for setting up casinos and electronic gaming operations along the international border.According to local media reports, the Nepalese cabinet, in its meeting on 27th June 2019 took the decision to amend a provision in the Casino Regulation, 2013 to allow casinos and electronic gaming operations up to a distance of 3 kilometres from the international border instead of the existing restriction of not allowing casinos within 5 kilometres from the international border.
According to Tourism Ministry officials, the decision was taken after a number of operators proposing to start operations in Kakarbhitta, Biratnagar, Birgunj, Nepalgunj and Dhangadhi areas had raised concern over the existing restrictions. Ghanshyam Upadhyaya, spokesperson for the tourism ministry told Kathmandu Post that the government has shown flexibility by allowing casinos to operate at a distance of up to 3 km from international borders in the context of the upcoming Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign.
New framework to regulate the Nepal casino industry
The government is also working to introduce a new framework to regulate the casino industry which would be embedded within the proposed new Tourism Bill. The move is expected to streamline the industry and encourage new global players to enter Nepal amid expectations of a boom in the gaming industry.
The government has been working on the draft for the past one year but according to latest reports, the legislation is in the final stages of preparation and could be introduced in the country’s parliament soon.
Casino Nepal, opened in 1968 which is now Casino Mahjong at Crowne Plaza Soaltee. Many times since the early 1990’s the government has come down hard on casinos for various regulatory reasons and non-payment of taxes and gaming fees.
After threatening on many occasions to close all casinos down for failing to clear outstanding payments to the Nepalese government they finally passed and introduced new casino regulations in April, 2013. Acting on the rules of the new Casino Regulations 2013 the government closed all of Kathmandu’s casinos on April 20th 2014, because they failed to pay up and renew license as per the new guidelines.
Casinos in Nepal started operations again in September of 2014. Casino Royale at the Yak & Yeti hotel resumed its operations September 23rd after it received go-ahead from the Supreme Court on September 21st. But Casino Royale’s operating period was shortly lived after it was forcefully shut on November 22nd on the orders of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), MoCTCA officials said the casino was being operated illegally and had not renewed it’s license based on new Casino Regulations.
Finally casinos in Nepal got their chance again and began to re-start their operations in the first two months of 2015 and Silver Heritage was the first to open a casino under the new Nepal Casino Rules, putting Nepal firmly back on the map for players from nearby India and China. Casino Mahjong at the Hotel Soaltee Crown Plaza with the a gaming floor of 60,000 square feet is Kathmandu’s most renowned and well-established casino. In mid-October 2015, the Goa-based Goa Coastal Resorts and Recreational Pvt Ltd opened Casino Pride at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kathmandu.
The largest gambling city in Nepal is Kathmandu with 8 gambling facilities, 126 tables games, 375 gaming, slot, and video poker machines.
The largest casino in the entire country of Nepal is Tiger Palace Resort Casino Nepal which is located in Bhairahawa and has 52 table games, 200 gaming and video poker machines.
Be it known that Nepal’s casinos are operating under the country’s Casino Regulation, 2013. Recently three casino operators had declined to pay license fees and royalties under the regulation and instead approached the Supreme Court, which granted them interim relief to operate without paying the statutory fees. Out of the three casinos who filed the petition in the Supreme Court, one of them is the Malla Hotel that has withdrawn the petition, paid its dues and the casino is currently operated by Sri Lanka’s Bally’s Group. The other two casinos who challenged the government and have shut their doors temporarily. (win inputs from news sources)