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Government prepares to relook at casino operating bylaw

The government is ready to relook at the Casino Operating Bylaw after a pressure from the casino association.

Casino Association of Nepal has asked the government to revise annual royalty fee that according to them will put extra financial burden on casino industry that is on the verge of collapse.

Writing a letter to Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, the association has informed that the advance deposit of Rs 40 million that is mandatory, according to the Financial Ordinance is not rational.

The association has also asked the government to revise minimum paid-up capital requirement of Rs 250 million and hike in application fee to Rs 500,000, licence fee to Rs 20 million and licence renewal fee to Rs 10 million.

The government has decided to close the casinos after the eight casinos in operation failed to renew their operating licences and pay due royalty amount. They have to pay Rs 656.84 million in due royalty amount by mid-July. Apart from royalty dues, each of them also have to pay another Rs 40 million royalty for the current fiscal year and a fine of at least Rs 12 million each for not depositing the royalty on time.

Among the casinos, Casino Nepal – operated by Nepal Recreation Centre – has to pay Rs 266.80 million. But the owner fled without paying royalty.

However, a new investor has acquired Casino Nepal a year ago and has been operating in the name of Casino Mahjong.

Casino Mahjong has paid Rs 16.70 million royalty for last fiscal year.