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04 Apr 2022

Nepal’s Department of Tourism has reportedly revoked licences of three casinos in the Himalayan country, as the operators allegedly failed to pay outstanding duties and renewal fees within the deadline set by the Nepalese authorities, reports The Himalayan Times newspaper.

In February, the Nepal government has collected Rs 810 million in royalties from various casinos operational in Nepal.

In the first week of February, the government had warned of action against non-payment of royalties by the casino operators. The casino sector in Nepal is believed to be employing around 15,000 people.

Earlier in January, Mike Bolsover, the CEO of Nepal casino operator SHL Management Pvt Ltd was barred from boarding a scheduled flight out of the country due to the company failing to pay its taxes on casino operations at its two Nepal casinos  Tiger Palace Resort Bhairahawa and The Millionaire's Club & Casino in Kathmandu.

In September 2021, some casinos in Nepal reportedly resumed operations, after being shuttered for about 18 months due to government-imposed restrictions over the Covid-19 pandemic.

Now, according to the local authorities as first reported by the Himalayan Times, the licence of Rock International Pvt Ltd, Happy Hour Kathmandu, and Oriental Hotels (Radisson Hotel) Lazimpa were cancelled as per the nation’s casino regulations enacted in 2013. The three casinos failed to pay outstanding fees amounting to an aggregate of NPR905.5 million (US$7.4 million), stated the report.

The media outlet quoted Khemraj Joshi, an official with the country’s Department of Tourism, as saying the government was compelled to take legal action against the three casinos as they “ignored” to pay their dues despite “repeated issuance of public notices urging them to do so.”

As per reports, a letter was sent on March 29 to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Police Headquarters requesting to implement the decision to revoke the licences of the three casinos.

In February, a similar closure order was challenged before the Nepal by Hotel Yak & Yeti restraining the government from closing down the hotel. In this case, Justice Ananda Mohan Bhattarai's single bench granted a temporary restraining order responding to a petition by the hotel group.

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