New rule likely to force some mini-casino closures


So-called mini casinos, or electronic gaming parlors, will be restricted to four-star casinos and barred opening within 5 kilometers of a border or close to a religious site under new gaming regulations. Tourism Ministry officials said the rule would force several of the 10 existing mini-casinos to close; several now operate close to the Indian border or in lower rates hotels. The Tourism Ministry will also set up a unit to supervise and monitor casinos and mini-casinos. Casino operating licenses will be sold for 20 million rupees and mini-casino licenses for 10 million rupees. Annual license renewal charges will equal half the operating license fee. A senior Tourism Ministry official said that casinos will forfeit that annual royalty fee, which will now have to be deposited within two months of the start in advance, if Nepalis are found gambling on their premises.