Silver Heritage Ltd, a Hong Kong-based gaming investment company, says it will operate a new casino at the Shangri-La Hotel and Resort in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. The new casino “is expected to open its doors during the first quarter of 2015,” the firm said in a press release.
The new Millionaire’s Club and Casino will be a boutique casino operating under the new Nepali gaming regulations, Silver Heritage said in Monday’s statement. The casino “will house 22 live gaming tables and 40 electronic gaming machines, all operated to the highest international standards”.
The company added: “The casino will be primarily aimed at providing expanded gaming opportunities for customers from the growing Indian and Chinese markets, and will also service the growing expatriate community living in Nepal.”
Malaysia-based Star Management operated the casino at the Shangri-La Hotel and Resort under a lease agreement for over a year. The casino was shut down in December 2011 over labour unrest, reported local media at the time.
The new Millionaire’s Club and Casino is to be run through a joint venture involving Silver Heritage and a Nepali company.
The Nepali government is making efforts to streamline the operation of casinos in the country. Earlier this year, all the casinos in Nepal were declared illegal as none had paid their outstanding royalty dues and obtained new operating permits following the new regulation introduced in 2013.
Tulasi Gautam, director general of Nepal’s Department of Tourism said last week: “The company [Silver Heritage] has met all the requirements. After a joint-venture company is registered, we will forward the company’s proposal to the Tourism Ministry for its final approval.”
Silver Heritage has been looking to invest in Nepal since 2011, the firm’s chief executive Mike Bolsover said in the statement.
“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 neighbour,” added Mr Bolsover.
According to online news portal E-Kantipur, Silver Heritage plans to invest over NPR1 billion (US$10.03 million) in the Millionaire’s Club and Casino.
Commenting on the announcement, Tim Shepherd, Silver Heritage’s chief operating officer, said: “We believe the work we are undertaking in Nepal will help the Nepali government achieve their goals by encouraging inbound tourism, particularly from India and China, and stimulating the local and national economy through our planned phased investment of more than US$100 million in developing a chain of 5-star resort facilities across Nepal.”
Silver Heritage is also planning to build a hotel and conference resort in the city of Bhairahawa, 265 kilometres (165 miles) west of Kathmandu and the most popular tourist border crossing between Nepal and India.
Tiger Palace, a planned 5-star hotel resort, will feature 300 rooms built over two phases, and will include conference facilities, fine dining, family entertainment and activity centres, wedding venues and potentially a casino, the firm said in Monday’s press release.
Construction is currently underway and Tiger Palace is expected to open in 2016, it added. Silver Heritage said it expects to open at least two more resorts in Nepal before the end of 2018.
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