Although Nepalese gambling laws have been rather strict since the communists took power in this Asian country, it seems that the government has learned to tolerate casinos for the sake of tourism revenues.
Since tourism revenue remains the only justification for not shutting down the brick-and-mortar gambling establishments, the Nepalese administration is making sure that casinos do not stray from the prescribed path.
Local authorities will retain the right and practice of frequent raids to make sure that Nepalese poker rooms and blackjack tables at the casinos serve only foreign tourists.
According to new guidelines (in reality they are new mandatory regulations) coming into effect on July 16, casinos and gambling halls face several tight rules, which they must follow to the letter.
First and foremost, locals are still banned from visiting Nepalese casinos. Should that rule be breached, the consequences will be harsh and swift. “If Nepalis are found inside casinos, the government will scrap the casinos’ operating license immediately,” according to a source at the Prime Minister’s Office.
The establishments are also not allowed to operate around religious sites – a peculiar sort of thoughtfulness from a governing party that calls itself communist.
The other main point is that casinos are expected to produce revenue for the state, and the government is determined to put an end to low payment morale. Most gambling operators have been delinquent in paying their taxes, but the government has been lenient with them. That is now over.
From now on, casinos wishing to have their licenses renewed must first deposit a Rs 20 million (approximately USD 200K) royalty supported by a bank guarantee. Casinos with tax arrears or unpaid royalty would not have their licenses renewed.
“As casinos are reluctant to pay the royalty, the mandatory provision of bank guarantee will ensure the government’s royalty,” said the source.
The bottom line is: Nepalese casinos exist to make money from tourism, and the government will have a share of that revenue, no matter what.