In Nepal on Monday, three reportedly tax-defaulting casinos and two mini-casinos were served with a three-day ultimatum by the Department of Tourism to either pay what’s owed or face legal action.
The Kathmandu Post reports that according to Tourism Department officials, millions in renewal fees and annual royalties are owed by the Malla Hotel-housed Casino Venus, the Casino Royale at the Hotel Yak and Yeti and the Radisson Hotel-housed Casino Rad.
“We have served a three-day ultimatum on tax defaulting casinos and mini-casinos, and if they do not pay heed to the department’s orders, they will be punished as per the law,” a tourism official reportedly told the news outlet.
While the government decided in April 2014 that casinos in violation of Casino Regulation 2013 were to be shut down and those in default on royalty payments were to lose their licenses, the aforementioned casinos have remained open until now thanks to an interim order from the Supreme Court.
Casino Regulation 2013 was reportedly an attempt by the government to subject wayward casinos to stricter control. In accordance with the regulation, in order to obtain an operating license for a casino, operators were required to pay a NR20 million (US$192,800) fee along with an annual royalty of NR30 million (US$289,200) in accordance with the Financial Act 2017-18.
Additionally, casinos are required to pay half of the operating license fee on required annual renewals.
Records reportedly show that Casino Royale, operated by Surendra Bahadur Singh under Gilt Investment, has, since the interim order was issued by the Supreme Court on March 28, 2016, been conducting business under the old regulation and despite having made installments amounting to NR35.3 million (US$340,292) still owes millions to the government, as reported by the Post.
Additionally, tourism officials report that Casino Royale has not renewed its operating license.
Similar to Casino Royale, Casino Rad, operated by Kishore Silwal under Rock International, tourism department officials said is also in arrears to the government having paid only NR12.5 million (US$120,500), and since May 2016 has been operating under the court’s ruling. According to government officials, the Tapta Bahadur Bista-operated Casino Venus has not made one royalty payment.
Including the Tiger Palace Resort at Kotihawa, Bhairahawa, which casino operator Silver Heritage Group Limited opened on December 18, 2017, currently in Nepal there are nine casinos in operation, six of which operate under Casino Regulation 2013.
Only casinos housed in five-star hotels are issued casino licenses. Hotels that are not five-star, can house mini-casinos where there is electronic gaming available.