On June 27, the Maoist communist ruling party of Nepal has invalidated all casino licenses held by the Nepal Recreation Center (NRC). The withdrawal of licenses came after NRC was reportedly unable to immediately pay a $4.39 million ‘past royalty payments’ allegedly owed to the Nepalese government.
NRC was the independent operator of four casinos attached to five star hotels in Kathamandu, Nepal’s capital city. The four luxury hotels are the Hotel Soaltee (Casino Nepal), Hotel Annapurna (Casino Anna), Hotel Everest (Casino Everest) and Hotel Hyatt Regency (Casino Tara).
Dr. Ganesh Raj, the Nepalese Tourism Secretary explained that the “Nepal Recreation Centre cannot operate casinos, since it has breached the law by defying government’s directive. Tourists will not be inconvenienced and the casinos will not close down for even a single minute.”
Dr. Raj further explained that the moneys will now be owed to the government by the respective hotels who subcontract the operations of the attached Nepalese casinos.
The casinos are allowed to continue to operate with the same identical staff until a new operator or operators are found. The new operators are expected to make significant contributions to the city in licensing fees. According to Nepalese gambling laws, all forms of gambling, including casinos are illegal.
The communists continue to allow the 8 five-star casinos in the capital of Nepal as well as two in the tourist resort of Pokhara to operate under special government permits. The Nepalese citizens are not permitted to enter the casinos by law and resort to gambling at foreign based online casinos in Nepal.
According to online gambling news in Nepal, an anonymous source within the NRC claims that the ‘past due royalties’ were already paid and appropriated’ long ago by the same powerful individuals who revoked their gambling permit.
NRC also claimed that it was forced to relinquish the special casino operating license of Casino Anna to Shivam Entex and Casino Tara to a company owned by Naila Bistat. Both names are well known to be ‘untouchable.’
Since January, there has been infighting between the Maoist, Marxist and the royalist factions of the Nepalese government. Analysts view this action on the part of the government as a power play between those factions.