Some casinos have reportedly already resumed operation in Nepal, after being shuttered for about 18 months due to government-imposed restrictions over the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nepal Independent Hotel, Casino and Restaurant Workers’ Union Central Committee president, Surya Bahadur Kunwar, said “more than half a dozen casinos” were up and running with others “gradually reopening”.
Tourism Ministry spokesperson, Taranath Adhikari, confirmed that the country’s casinos had been allowed to resume operation.
The administration office in charge of the valley surrounding Nepal’s capital Kathmandu decided on September 1 to allow “business and social activities” to resume if they followed health and safety protocols, the Kathmandu Post quoted Mr Adhikari as saying.
The Wednesday report quoted Parbat Giri, an official at the Tourism Ministry department that oversees gaming, as saying several casinos had applied to reopen as soon as Nepal’s second lockdown was lifted on September 1.
All gaming venues in Nepal had been closed since March 24, 2020, when authorities enforced the first lockdown.
On September 23 the Nepal government scrapped a seven-day quarantine requirement for all arrivals from abroad and resumed issuing visas on arrival to all vaccinated foreign visitors.
The Finance Ministry has granted all casinos with no debts to the government, a full waiver of the annual royalty for the fiscal year 2020-21 that in Nepal ended in mid-July.
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”Our own consensus is that any newcomers to this [junket] sector should be corporatised, and should be financially sound and able to commit a higher guarantee deposit”
Kwok Chi Chung
President of junket trade body, the Macau Association of Gaming and Entertainment Promoters