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Govt tough rules mar casinos, mini casinos to pull shutter down

Casino Nepal. Photo:kathmandu.im
Casino Nepal. Photo:kathmandu.im

KATHMANDU, Nepal- As the government prepares to enforce new regulations targeting the casino business in the country, the operators are preparing to pull shutter of their business down, as they said they could not survive in the new rule of law.

The Cabinet on July 11have endorsed the new Casino Regulation 2013 that will keep casinos in a tighter grip.

Tourism Ministry officials said a number of such operators in Kakkarbhitta, Biratnagar, Birgunj, Nepalgunj and Dhangadhi will have to shut down their gaming houses after the regulation is officially enforced as the new rule say only five-star hotels or resorts are allowed to operate casinos and only four-star properties will be allowed to operate electronic gaming or mini casinos.

Also casinos should not be located within a 5-km distance of international border points and they should not be operated in the periphery of religious sites, according to the regulation.

Casino operators said, electronic gaming was introduced to attract tourists from bordering Indian towns and promote border tourism, but the new regulation has been a major setback.

However, according to the ministry official, the strict measures reflect its policy to clamp down on casinos habitually defaulting on government taxes and disregarding the rule barring Nepalis from entry.

But now onwards, “If Nepalis are found playing or entering the casino, the government will seize the deposited amount,” said a senior official of the ministry.

According to the new regulation governing casinos and electronic gaming (mini casinos), only foreign passport holders may play at the casinos in five-star hotels. Nepalis are not even allowed to enter the casinos, according to the new regulation.

The new regulation has also increased the royalty amount to be paid by casino operators and also has the provision of deposit.

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