In this interview with CalvinAyre.com, former Silver Heritage Group chairman David Green gives his insights on Nepal’s casino industry.
Nepal, a landlocked country in the Himalayas, is said to be in a sweet spot to become South Asia’s premier casino hub due to its location and a pool of talented manpower. In fact, brick-and-mortar facilities have been in the country for over 50 years.
Despite these advantages, Nepal is having a hard time convincing investors to make a big bet on the Himalayan state. The scale of the brick-and-mortar facilities has been too small to make a significant contribution to the country’s economy.
The problem lies in Nepal’s regulatory framework, according to former Silver Heritage Group chairman David Green. He believes that the Nepalese government needs to overhaul its regulations to encourage future investments in the country.
“The regulatory regime is very limited at the moment. It’s more about collecting tax and royalties on monies won by players. It doesn’t have suitability requirements, financial capacity requirements. So it is not a contemporary regulatory framework,” Green told CalvinAyre.com. “Unfortunately, until there is a contemporary regulatory framework, it really won’t be possible to attract the sort of investment that the country wants.”
Fortunately, Green said the Nepalese government has finally recognized the importance of casinos as a driver for tourism and growth. Big integrated resorts projects in Nepal, such as the recently launched Tiger Palace Bhairahawa, have been key in convincing the Nepalese government on the feasibility of the concept.
Green cited several advantages in constructing an integrated resort in Nepal. First is the physical proximity to key source markets, such as China and India. Then there’s China and Nepal’s ideological association.
“Between China and Nepal, there’s now a much closer ideological association given that the government in Nepal is a Marxist/Leninist coalition,” Green said. “So I expect far more Chinese tourism into Nepal as well. They go for the mountains now but in the future, they are going to go for more than just mountains.”