Nepal Looks To Relax International Border Casino Restrictions
Nepal is a small country that has a population of close to 27 million and depends heavily on its tourism industry. During the last few years, Nepal has focused on developing and expanding its casino industry in order to create a new revenue stream as well as boost tourist numbers.
The country currently has 11 casinos, 3 poker rooms and 1 sportsbook with 8 of these casinos being located in the capital Kathmandu. The government is quite open to welcoming new casino operators and in a bid to encourage new investment has decided to relax its gaming regulations.
During a recent cabinet meeting, legislators decided to relax the international border restrictions on casinos and electronic gaming parlours. The earlier laws required a minimum distance of 5 km to be maintained from international borders. The new laws will now require a distance of just 3 km to be maintained.
This response does not come as a surprise since a number of casino operators in the country, especially from the regions of Dhangadhi, Kakarbhitta and Birgunj had called on the government to relax the international border restrictions.
It is quite clear that Nepal is looking to attract a steady flow of Indian tourists over to its casinos. Since gambling is banned in the majority of Indian states, Nepal is looking to take advantage of its close proximity to the Indian border and attract Indian gamblers over to its casinos and electronic gaming parlours.
Indian nationals do not require a visa to travel to Nepal. They have the option of flying into the country or crossing the border directly into Birgunj.
Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign
Nepal has in place a ‘Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign’ where the government is looking to come up with new initiatives to boost tourism in the country and give Nepal more visibility on the global stage. The relaxing of international casino border restrictions is one of the initiatives taken to boost the Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign.
The government has also confirmed that legislators are currently working on a new Casino Act which is expected to make the casino industry more appealing to tourists. So far there has been no confirmation as to what laws will be changed or relaxed. The Department of Tourism has stated that the new Casino Act will be rolled out along with the new Tourism Act.