The Nepal government has dumped plans to introduce a Casino Act regulating the local casino industry, announcing that it will attach new casino-related laws to its Tourism Act instead.
As reported by The Kathmandu Post, the backflip comes less than two months after the government declared its intention to streamline the casino industry in order to encourage global operators to invest.
Instead, Tourism Secretary Krishna Prasad Devkota said this week, “We will bring the Casino Act, but not separately.
“We are currently discussing the issue. As per the plan, the casino law will come out as an annex to the Tourism Act that the government is currently drafting.”
Nepal’s government had previously announced its intention to submit draft Casino Bill 2018 in June and had been given the green light by the Law Ministry, but the draft bill never materialized. Among the original intentions of the draft bill were to bring all casino operations into line following multiple instances of casinos failing to pay taxes.
The Kathmandu Post reports that “casino royalty irregularities” currently amount to Rs1.25 billion (US$11.4 million) with around a dozen casinos currently operating outside the law due to uncertainties surrounding the details contained within the current Casino Regulation 2013.
“If a Casino Act is introduced, it will automatically supersede the Casino Regulation and also the court’s orders,” said a Department of Tourism official.
“It will also regulate the casinos in a more managed way and protect the investment of foreign investors.”