Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has canceled the operating licenses of two casinos for failing to pay their royalties.
According to reports by local news outlet myRepublica, the casinos at Yak & Yeti Hotel in Kathmandu and Dreamland Hotel in Nepalgunj have been ordered closed after ignoring repeated government requests to pay their dues.
The Yak & Yeti Hotel, which has operated a casino since 1992, has also seen its five-star classification revoked with the ministry having written to the Office of the Prime Minister, the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Home Affairs to assist in implementing its decision.
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Prem Bahadur Ale, said, “In the records … the company is yet to pay arrears up to fiscal year 2020/21, renewal fees for the FY2021/22 and royalty fees worth Rs 420 million (US$3.5 million). The casino operating license and hotel level classification certificate have been revoked as per the law.”
Dreamland Hotel has seen its license revoked for defaulting on royalties totaling Rs 3.8 million (US$31,500) after also ignoring repeated written requests.
Nepal’s casinos only reopened in October after being closed for 18 months due to COVID-19.
The government had at the time waived an annual royalty fee for the fiscal year ended 30 June 2021 for all casinos that had been regularly paying their annual fee up until the start of the pandemic. However, it said only eight or nine casinos qualified for such a waiver.
Nepal’s casino industry is said to employ around 15,000 workers.