6 Jul 2019 Jonas Lemberg

Nepal cabinet relaxes casino location requirements

Nepal casinos allowed near India border

The Nepal government has relaxed location requirements for setting up casinos and electronic gaming operations along the international border.

According to local media reports, the Nepalese cabinet, in its meeting on 27th June took the decision to amend a provision in the Casino Regulation, 2013 to allow casinos and electronic gaming operations up to a distance of 3 kilometres from the international border instead of the existing restriction of not allowing casinos within 5 kilometres from the international border.

The decision was taken after a number of operators proposing to start operations in Kakarbhitta, Biratnagar, Birgunj, Nepalgunj and Dhangadhi areas had raised concern over the existing restrictions, according to Tourism Ministry officials.

“The government has shown flexibility by allowing casinos to operate at a distance of up to 3 km from international borders in the context of the upcoming Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign,” Ghanshyam Upadhyaya, spokesperson for the tourism ministry told Kathmandu Post.

The government is also working to introduce a new framework to regulate the casino industry which would be embedded within the proposed new Tourism Bill. The move is expected to streamline the industry and encourage new global players to enter Nepal amid expectations of a boom in the gaming industry.

The government has been working on the draft for the past one year but according to latest reports, the legislation is in the final stages of preparation and could be introduced in the country’s parliament soon.

Currently, Nepal’s casinos are operating under the country’s Casino Regulation, 2013. However, three casino operators had declined to pay license fees and royalties under the regulation and instead approached the Supreme Court, which granted them interim relief to operate without paying the statutory fees.

However, according to the Tourism Department, out of the three casinos who filed the petition in the Supreme Court, one of them, the Malla Hotel has withdrawn the petition, paid its dues and the casino is currently operated by Sri Lanka’s Bally’s Group. The other two casinos who challenged the government have shut shop.

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