On April 18th the government declared all casinos illegal and ordered them shuttered by the 20th if they failed to pay all past dues and obtain new licenses based on the Casino Rules 2013. According to the Times of India, “…The ministry didn’t renew licenses of the ten casinos operating in the premises of different five-star hotels in the country as some didn’t apply for renewal within the given time-frame and applications of others were filed without fulfilling due process…”
The new rules are seen by some as impossible to comply with, by others as a way to squeeze the casinos out while appearing to simply regulate them. Still others believe that it was a “house-cleaning” effort to make way for foreign investors to take over the potentially lucrative industry. We don’t have enough information to form an opinion.
We will be following this story as we update the World Casino Directory to bring you current reviews of all land based casinos. Keep an eye on our Nepal Casinos pages for updates, news, and current job listings in the area.
Brief history of how we got to this point
To make a decades long story short, a law was passed in 1963 allowing gambling in the landlocked South Asian republic and the first casino was opened by American RD Tuttle in the late 1960’s. Throughout the decades the casino industry became an important part of tourism for Nepal with a significant portion of the revenue coming from India.
Tuttle was effectively squeezed out by his investment partner immediately following the People’s Movement II of 2006. (In 2010 an arrest warrant was issued for the partner for failure to pay taxes – he absconded to India leaving the majority of the county’s casinos in limbo to be run by employees).
In 2007 the neighboring Indian state of Goa increased gambling licenses ten-fold, dramatically reducing the number of players traveling to Nepal to gamble.
In 2008 a tourism policy was passed to make casinos more ‘decent’ and accountable to the government and in 2013 casino rules were adopted to effect such change. The industry was already in decline due to many political and economic factors and some of the casinos had not paid their annual royalties dating back as far as 2006. The Casino Rules 2013 effectively doubled the amount of money the businesses were to tender to government. Many other obligations were also being unmet including lease payments to 5-Star hotels, suppliers, and employee welfare funds.
In April 2014, the Nepal government declares all casinos illegal.