Nepal’s embattled former land-based gambling monopoly looks to be slowly on its way out. After countless warnings over not clearing its debts, the Nepal Recreation Centre (NPC) may be forced to close the four casinos that it still owns due to a dispute over unpaid tax revenue. Spokesperson for the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Keshab Prasad Bimali told the Himalayan Times, “There is slim chance that NRC will pay its dues by Sunday since Saturday, the deadline, is a holiday.”
He added “Only a miracle can save NRC on Sunday.”
The casinos under threat are the Casino Nepal at Hotel Soaltee, Casino Anna at Hotel Annapurna, Casino Tara at Hotel Hyatt Regency and Casino Everest at Hotel Everest. The latter two have already cleared what is owed but the government will close these two if the debts are not paid.
Debts are outstanding on the other with the oldest casino in Asia, Casino Nepal, owing around Rs130million to the Department of Revenue Investigation. Casino Anna is in debt to the tune of Rs110million to the same organization. The company moved quickly to transfer the operating licenses for the aforementioned casinos to others firms. A ministry source stated, “The ministry’s decision will not change simply because the operation license has changed hands.”
The venues were closed as of June 25 as the NRC had failed to clear its dues by the date earlier set by the Tourism Ministry. Staff at the venues seem confident that they will reopen later this week but time is ticking down for the former owner of all seven Nepalese casinos.