The Nepalese government is planning to streamline and regulate the country’s casino industry through the enactment of a new law, The Kathmandu Post reported.
Nepal’s Ministry of Tourism is set to submit a draft of Casino Bill 2018 to the Cabinet next week as the agency seeks to rein in existing casinos that continue to operate without paying a dime to the government.
Under Nepal’s Casino Regulation 2013, operators need to shell out NPR20 million (US$185,700) to obtain a casino operating license. Casino operators must pay half of the casino operating license fee when renewing their license annually.
Casinos in Nepal are also required to pay another NPR30 million ($279,300) fee annually under Nepal’s Financial Act. There were suggestions to increase this fee by one-third for financial year 2018-2019.
According to Ministry of Tourism spokesperson Ghanshyam Upadhyay, some casino operators were emboldened to default on their obligations to the government after the Supreme Court (SC) issued several orders allowing them to operate without paying taxes.
Upadhyay also lamented that the high tribunal left the government hanging when it failed to indicate whether casinos should operate under the old or the new regulation. At least three of Nepal‘s ten casinos are running on the strength of the court order, according to Upadhyay.
Last March, the Minstry 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, demanding the three gambling facilities pay millions in unpaid fees.
“The most complicated matter for the department is that it cannot collect taxes and royalties as it has scrapped their licenses. In the legal sense, the casinos are operating unlawfully. But, we have to honor the court’s ruling,” Upadhyay said, according to the news outlet.
Upadhyay believes that the latest Casino Bill will reconcile the old and new regulation, plug the regulation loopholes and bring existing casinos in line.
The new law will also automatically supersede both the existing casino regulations and the court’s orders, according to the Tourism minister. He hopes that the bill will also encourage new international gambling investors to place their bets on Nepal.