Discussions to reopen Nepalese casinos bring positive results

By Emma Rumney
Nepal’s casinos could potentially be back in operation soon, according to the country’s finance minister Ram Sharan Mahat.

The country’s casinos have been closed since April when the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation declared them illegal on the grounds that they had not renewed their operating licences and were not paying their taxes, leaving 10,000 workers jobless across the country.

But during the inauguration of the 4th convention of the UNI in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu the finance minister said casino operation could be resumed following discussions between the government, casino operators, workers unions and other stakeholders.

Madhusudan Burlakoti, chief of the ministry’s Industry Division, told the Kantipur news agency: “As the government is positive on reopening the casinos and operating them legally, we are discussing various measures to make the new regulation flexible.”

The government has requested the casinos pay their royalty fees, while it’s reported casino operators are asking the government to decrease taxes.

The government has reportedly responded to complaints that the fees enforced by regulators last year were too high. Nepal’s Financial Bill 2014-15 cuts both the royalty fees charged to casinos as well as electronic gaming fees.

Finance minister Ram Sharan Mahat said it is important the casinos reopen because “protecting jobs is as important as creating them”.

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