Nepal’s casino industry resumes operations

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In what can be considered as a welcome development for the entertainment and tourism industry of Nepal, the country’s casinos kickstarted operations on Friday after an 18-month break in line with government norms to control the spread of Covid-19.

“The casino operators are resuming their operations, in line with the decision of the District Administration Office of Kathmandu on September 1 to allow economic, social, and business activities by following health safety protocols,” the Nepal Casino Association (NCA) said in a statement.

A copy of this statement was shared with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation and Metropolitan Police Range.

The Covid-19 Crisis Management Centre, in a letter, has directed the NCA to work closely with the District Covid-19 Crisis Management Centre to ensure permissions are sought from concerned agencies.

Casinos in Nepal have remained shut since 19 March 2020 due to rising Covid-19 cases in the country. Like Goa and Sikkim in India, the curbs on the casino industry have led to economic devastation in the tourism industry.

While the state government in Sikkim has allowed casinos to reopen, the wait for a nod from the government in Goa is still awaited.

The news of Nepal allowing casinos to resume operations comes as a shot in the arm to several operators like Delta Corp that run casinos in the country, apart from Indian states like Sikkim and Goa.

Goa should consider reopening casinos next month after assessing Covid: Minister

Ports Minister Michael Lobo has said the Goa government should consider reopening casinos in the state next month only after assessing the Covid situation in the country.

“Casinos right now have not started. The government will consider starting casinos by next month, after looking at the (Covid) situation in the country. If the Covid situation in the country improves, only then the casinos will start and we will get tourists in the state of Goa,” Lobo said according to an IANS report.

The Government has already allowed social, political, entertainment, sports, academic, cultural gatherings, and marriages. While restaurants and cafes in Goa have been allowed to function, the casinos are yet to be opened.

Lobo said to the reports that the Union Ministry of Home Affairs should provide relaxation to the aviation tourism industry by allowing flights on safe air bubble routes to allow the facilitation of charter tourist flights from designated destinations to Goa.