The promoters who had shut down casinos refusing to pay tax to the government have finally agreed to operate as per the new process. Three casinos, after two months of closure, have prepared for resuming operation paying Rs 70 million. The government two months ago had closed the casinos refusing to operate under the new regulation and clear dues.
The government had amended the Casino Regulation issued on July 23, 2013 keeping stringent provisions but the promoters had been strongly opposing it. The three casinos—Everest Casino at Everest Hotel, Casino Royal at Hotel Yak and Yeti, and Casino Venus at Malla Hotel—have initiated registration process as per the new working procedure by paying Rs 70 million, according to the Tourism Industry Division under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. Casino Shangrila and Casino Grand in Pokhara have also already cleared royalty but have not initiated process for new registration. “Three casinos have already come for registration and others are also preparing to clear dues,” Chief of the division Madhusudan Burlakoti said. He revealed that permission has not been given to the three casionos as due process has not been completed. The government had shut down all casinos from April 4 after the promoters refused to register even after the government extended deadline for renewal of casinos four times. There were 10 casinos in operation at five-star hotels in Nepal apart from mini-casinos.
Everest Casino has paid Rs 17.18 million, Casino Venus 3.50 million and Casino Royal Rs 45.80 million. “They can no longer operate casinos by merely clearing the dues. They should be registered as per the new regulation,” he stated. He said there will be some delay in operation of Casino Anna (at Annapurna), Casino Mahjong (at Soaltee) and Casino Fulbari (at Fulbari, Pokhara) due to dispute between the old and new promoters but claimed the other casinos will soon get registered as per the new regulation. Casino Anna, Casino Mahjong, Casino Shangrila, Casino Star (at Hyatt), Casino Rad (at Radisson), and Casino Grand and Casino Fulbari Pokhara have yet to start process. They have yet to clear dues as well.
The casinos have uncleared dues of Rs 670 million including that of mini-casinos. There is another Rs 416 million including royalty for the current fiscal year and fine. Every casino will have to pay Rs 40 milion in royalty for one year and a fine of Rs 12 million. The deadline to clear such dues had expired in mid-September. The promoters had been refusing to renew despite repeated extension of deadline.