Silver Heritage Ltd. of Hong Kong has been named the new operator of the Shangri-La Casino in Kathmandu. The Nepalese Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation issued a special license to the company in early February, when gaming actually commenced.
The Shangri-La was previously operated by Malaysian company Star Management. It was closed in the wake of labor unrest, as well as restrictive government oversight.
Nepal’s casino industry has been in turmoil since 2013, when the government ruled that casinos must pay annual royalties amounting to NPR40 million (more than US$400,000). When casino operators balked, the amount was decreased to NPR30 million in 2014.
The fee reduction didn’t work, and last April the Nepalese government declared all casinos illegal because they fell behind on their payments. Since then, a number of venues have shut down, throwing thousands of people out of work and putting a dent in the region’s tourism industry.
There has also been some interest in reopening the Everest Casino at the Hotel Everest. A gaming venue in Soaltee is also expected to resume operations.