Tax-defaulting Nepal casinos only have until Thursday to settle their arrears and avoid a day in court.
The Kathmandu Post reported that Nepal’s Department of Tourism came knocking on the doors of Casino Royale in the Hotel Yak and Yeti, Casino Rad in the Radisson Hotel, and Casino Venus in the Malla Hotel on Monday, demanding the three gambling facilities pay millions in unpaid fees.
Tourism department officials said they will file cases against casino operators who have failed to settle their taxes.
“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 told the news outlet.
This is not the first time that the Nepalese government and the three casinos have clashed over the issue of royalty payments.
In 2014, the three casinos took the government to court after the latter decided to shutter all casinos that were remiss in fulfilling the Casino Regulation 2013. The government also junked the casinos’ operating licenses.
The three casinos resisted the government’s action against them by bringing the issue before the Supreme Court. After hearing both parties, the High Tribunal decided to issue an interim order that allowed the three casinos to remain open.
The government now claims that the three casinos took advantage of the Supreme Court’s order by continuing their operations without remitting their financial obligations.
The tourism department said each casino operator must pay NR20 million ($192,800) fee in order to obtain a license, in addition to an annual royalty of NR30 million ($289,200).
There are at least nine casinos operating in Nepal, including the newly opened, five-star integrated resort Tiger Palace Resort in Kotihawa, Bhairahawa.
Records show that Casino Royale, which is operated by Surendra Bahadur Singh under Gilt Investment, still owes the government thousands of dollars despite making paid installments amounting to NR35.3 million ($340,292). Casino Royale also did not renew its operating license, according to tourism officials.
Like Casino Royale, the tourism department said Casino Rad owed the government a lot of money since it only had paid NR12.5 million ($120,500). Casino Venus, run by Tapta Bahadur Bista, has not paid a penny in royalties, according to the government officials.