Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has given the country’s casinos less than a month to renew their licenses or face shutdown.
None of the 10 casinos—eight in the capital of Katmandu, two in Pokhara—had renewed as of the end of October and several have not been paying taxes, the government says, and are therefore operating illegally. The venues owe the government more than 550 million rupees (US$5.6 million), according to the Inland Revenue Department, and the arrears are likely to grow as a result of a bill passed this year that doubles the annual license fee, or “royalty,” the casinos are required to pay to 40 million rupees.
To obtain a license, operators are required to deposit with the Tourism Ministry one year’s royalty as a guarantee. The cost of obtaining a license is another 20 million rupees. They also must pay a license application fee of 500,000 rupees.