The Nepal government is considering introducing legislation that would give it wide-ranging powers to confiscate the personal property of any casino operators that fail to pay their taxes.
Set to form part of a new Federal Tourism Bill, the draft casino bill will include a provision allowing officials to seize assets both within and outside Nepal’s borders. Aside from the ability to confiscate personal property, the government would also be able to seize passports and freeze the bank accounts of those deemed liable as well as shutting off utilities such as water and electricity supply, according to the Kathmandu Post.
Under the proposed bill, operators would be required to spend at least 2% of their profits on corporate social responsibility schemes, while penalties for allowing locals to gamble would be strongly enforced. However, the bill would also expand potential locations for casinos from five-star hotels only to include luxury resorts as well.
“We have held several rounds of discussions on the new law. We plan to consult the private sector and the public regarding the new bill,” said Tourism Ministry spokesman Ghanshyam Upadhyaya. “The final draft will be sent to the Finance and Law ministries for their approval before submitting it to the Cabinet.
“House committees may hold several rounds of deliberations before the bill is endorsed.”
The proposed casino bill is the government’s response to a legal loophole that has seen three casinos previously shut down for failing to pay its taxes allowed to remain open under an interim order by the Supreme Court. Unpaid casino taxes in that time are said to total around NPR 1 billion (US$8.9 million).