Entrepreneurs are gearing up to reopen casinos that have been shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are over 15 casinos in the country among which some casinos were in operation based on an order of the court while some have been in operation fulfilling the legal procedures, according to the Department of Tourism. As the meeting of the Chief District Officers of all three districts decided to lift the restrictions and COVID-19 induced prohibitory order since September 2, entrepreneurs have been preparing to reopen the casinos, according to the Casino Association of Nepal.
Association’s President Kishore Silwal shared that the casinos would be reopened within a day or two. Casinos will be opened after assessing the risk of the third wave of COVID-19. Silwal said, “We are in a ‘wait and watch’ situation. But we will consider opening the casinos by taking necessary precautions against the COVID-19.” Some casinos in the country were closed temporarily since they had to clear a huge chunk of arrears. Only mini-casinos have been in operation out of Valley.
Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN)’s first vice-president Binayak Shah said that running hotels post lockdown and prohibitory order phase had been economically challenging in absence of guests and clients. The opening of casinos has faced challenges to attract customers, mostly coming from India. In many casinos, Indians have been the major customers while Nepalis have been forbidden to gamble in casinos. Reopening of some casinos has also hit a snag since some of them have a huge chunk of arrears to clear. Some casinos have over Rs 700 million in arrears to clear since 2070 BS while some owe the government over Rs 1 billion in both arrears and penalties.