Nepal’s casinos are on track to resume operations soon according to the country’s Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat who commented on the matter during the inauguration of the 4th convention of the UNI in Kathmandu.
The Kantipur news agency reports that talks continue between the government and the casino operators, workers’ unions and other stakeholders as they try to bring the casinos back into operation.
On April 19, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation declared these casinos as operating illegally for not paying their taxes and not renewing their operating licenses. With the closure of the casinos, over 10,000 workers have become jobless across the country.
Two months after the decision, both sides appear to be on the verge of agreeing to new parameters that would allow the casinos to resume the operation. The government had ordered the casinos to pay their royalty dues and obtain new licenses in accordance with the country’s current regulations. However, the casino operators have urged the government to decrease their taxes.
The government responded to casino operators’ complaints that the fees enforced by the Casino Regulation last year were too high by crafting Nepal’s Financial Bill 2014–15, which will slash the royalty fees charged to the casinos from NPR40 million ($412,467) to NPR30 million ($309,350). Electronic gaming fees have also been cut from NPR30 million ($309,350) to NPR20 million ($206,233).
“As the government is positive on reopening the casinos and operate them legally, we are discussing various measures to make the new regulation flexible,” Madhusudan Burlakoti, chief of the ministry’s Industry Division, responsible for issuing casino operating licenses in Nepal, told the Kantipur.
Finance minister Ram Sharan Mahat understands the importance of having these casinos back up for business again, hence the efforts made to acquiesce to some of their requests. “Protecting jobs is as important as creating them,” Mahat said.