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A few months ago all casinos in Nepal had defaulted on their royalty dues and failed to obtain fresh operating permits as mandated by the Nepalese government. Consequently all the casinos in Nepal were declared illegal. Under the 2013-14 Nepal Financial Bill, each casino had to pay an annual amount of ₹40 million and each electronic gaming house had to pay an annual amount of ₹30 million. In effect, the bill doubled the earlier royalty amount, a move that caused outcry among the Nepal casino industry.
The new regulation effective from July 16, 2013 came down heavily on Nepal’s casinos. Casino operators in Nepal found the fees too high and articulated their unhappiness leading to slashing of the royalty amount from ₹40 million to ₹30 million in the financial bill of 2014-15. Also the ₹30 million fee for electronic gaming was slashed down to ₹20 million. A decision to give Nepal’s casinos the status of an industry was made on Nov 23rd this year in an Industrial Promotion Board (IPM) meeting.
The latest development that could rejuvenate the otherwise dull scenario in the country is the launch of a new casino at the Shangri La Hotel and Resort (cover image) in Nepal’s capital city of Kathmandu. Silver Heritage Ltd, a gaming investment company located in Hong Kong is the force behind this development.
The firm is likely to have the new casino christened as the New Millionaire’s Club and Casino and it is expected to be up and running during the first quarter of 2015.
A Nepali company and Silver Heritage will run the New Millionaire’s Club and Casino as a joint venture and the casino will have to comply with the new Nepal gaming regulations. In its statement the gaming firm said, “The casino will house 22 live gaming tables and 40 electronic gaming machines all operated to the highest international standards“.
According to the news portal E-Kantipur, Silver Heritage has made the decision to invest over US$10 million in the Millionaire’s Club and Casino.
The company is already operating projects in countries such as Vietnam (Phoenix International Club) and the Philippines (The Millionaires club).
Casino Shangri-La was earlier run by the Malaysia based Star Management however labor issues closed down the casino permanently. The Director General of Nepal’s Department of tourism has said that Silver Heritage has satisfied all the necessary requirements and that the Tourism Ministry would be giving the final approval shortly.
The Hong Kong gaming firm’s chief executive Mr. Bolsover said, “We are confident the Kathmandu opportunity and our development of other resorts in Nepal represent a huge opportunity given Nepal’s proximity to both India and China’s massive and growing middle class consumer, and Nepal’s cultural affinity with its southern neighbor”.
Silver Heritage’s chief operating officer Tim Shepherd announced the firm’s intent to make phased investments of over US$ 100 million to develop a chain of 5-star resorts in the Himalayan country. Silver Heritage’s future plan is to build Tiger Palace, a 5-star hotel resort at the most popular border crossing between Nepal and India i.e. Bhairahawa city. The opening of the resort is expected to take place in 2016 and two more resorts are planned to open before the year 2018 ends.