Government extends 15 days for casino licence renewal
The Cabinet meeting yesterday extended deadline for casinos to renew their licences by a fortnight to April 4.
The casinos have to clear their royaltee dues and pay revewal fee for operating licence within next two weeks, otherwise, they will be declared illegal and closed down, tourism ministry said.
Earlier, also the government had extended the deadline to March 21 – today – for all the casinos to clear their due royalty and fee to renew operating licences from November 20, upon request to the government.
The eight casinos operating currently in Kathmandu and two in Pokhara have failed to renew their operating licences and clear their royalty due that comes to around Rs 656.84 million by mid-July. Apart from royaltee dues, they also have to pay Rs 40 million royalty for the current fiscal year.
The financial ordinance in the current fiscal year had fixed annual royalty fee at Rs 40 million – for each casino – that needs to be paid advance to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation within two months of the beginning of new fiscal year.
But they have failed to pay on time, and they have been slapped 15 per cent 15 per cent fine on annual royalty. The ministry has also asked to pay royalty dues within next three months. However, they failed to meet the deadline forcing the government to issue ultimatum.
Each of the casinos has to pay a fine of at least Rs 12 million for not paying the royalty of current fiscal year.
Despite repeated time extension, the gambling houses have not been able to pay royal tee dues.
Among them, Casino Grand housed in Hotel Grand in Pokhara and Casino Shangri La housed in Shangri La Hotel Kathmandu have been closed down, whereas Casino Shyangri La has also pulled down it shutter.
The ministry said that it has extended the deadline – for the fifth times – after Casino Association of Nepal wrote the ministry asking to let them operate legally
The ministry has made it difficult for us to operate according to Casino Regulation brought on July 11, 2013.
The casinos have also asked to reduce the royalty fee, which was doubled under the new regulation.
The regulation also states that 'only four-star properties will be allowed to operate electronic gaming or mini casinos., operators must pay the client after windfall tax is levied on them. They should not be located within a five-km distance of international border points; detailed identity records of gamblers should be kept for at least six months.
A paid-up capital of at least Rs 250 million is also required for the operation of casinos, while the capital for electronic gaming mist have to be Rs 150 million. Casino and electronic gaming operators are required to pay an application fee of Rs 500,000 and Rs 200,000, respectively.
On December 29, 2010, the now-defunct Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had directed the government to scrap the licenses of casino, if they fail clear their royalty dues.