Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Casinos operating ‘illegally’: Ministry

Most of the casinos are operating ‘illegally’, according to Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoTCA) as they have not renewed their licences.
“Only Casino Shangri-La has renewed its licence so far,” joint secretary at the ministry Ranjan Krishna Aryal said, adding that other casinos are operating without any legal status as they have failed to renew licence according to the law.
A casino has to pay Rs 20 million at the beginning of the fiscal year to renew its licence. It can also renew the licence within the three months of the fiscal year after paying fine but no one, except Shangri-La has renewed its licence, according to the law.
“Home Ministry should close the casinos, as they are operating illegally, he said, adding that it is the jurisdiction of Home Ministry to check whether casinos are operating legally or not. “And Home Ministry should close down those casinos, which are operating illegally.”
Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation regulates only one casino — Casino Shangri-La — at present, since it is the only legal casino operator, he clarified.
Casinos that are in operation have breached Financial Act, according to Aryal. He also expressed his discontent over dillydallying of Home Ministry to close casinos that have not renewed their licence.
The Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation has already informed Home Ministry and Economic and Labour Relation Committee under Legislature Parliament about the legal status of the casinos, Aryal said.
But the ministry has not yet received any information whether Home Ministry has taken action against the illegal casinos that have failed to renew their licence or not. “If Home Ministry has not taken any action, it’s their inefficiency to enforce law and order,” he further said.
There are 10 casinos in Nepal — Casino Royale at Hotel & Yeti, Casino Venus at Hotel Malla, Casino Rad at Hotel Radisson, Casino Grande at Hotel Pokhara Grande, Fulbari Casino at Hotel Fulbari, Casino Nepal at Hotel Soaltee, Casino Anna at Hotel de’l Annapurna, Casino Everest at Hotel Everest, Casino Tara at Hotel Hyatt and Casino Shangri-La at Hotel Shangri-La. Of the total, two casinos are in Pokhara and rest are in the Kathmandu Valley.
Among them, four casinos also have Rs 326.18 million outstanding royalty dues.

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