In an effort to intensify its efforts to persuade casinos to pay off their debts to the government, Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation has revoked the operating licenses for Yak & Yeti Hotel and Dreamland Hotel. The two land casinos have failed to pay their royalties for the fiscal year 2020/21.
Yak & Yeti Hotel Ignored Repeated Requests to Pay Their Dues
Yak & Yeti in Kathmandu failed to pay off its royalties after ignoring repeated requests issued by the government. The governmental body that is responsible for regulating the Nepalese aviation and promoting tourism, the private sector, and culture in the country also had Yak & Yeti’s five-star hotel classification revoked after receiving support from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Council of Ministers.
The Yak & Yeti Hotel is one of the oldest hotels in Nepal with over three decades of existence. The hotel also hosts a top-tier, fully-equipped business center with fully trained staff and one of the most popular beauty parlors and barbershops in the valley.
However, one of the main points of attraction at Yak & Yeti is the industrial-chic designed casino open on a 24/7 basis here. The casino invites Nepalese players and tourists alike to roll the dice behind any of the 21 table games available there or get lost in the fun activities offered by the 32 gaming machines hosted by the venue.
According to a statement issued by Prem Bahadur Ale, the Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Yak & Yet was unable to pay the arrears leading to the fiscal year 2020/21, as well as the necessary fees for renewal for the new fiscal year. In total, the Kathmandu-based hotel failed to pay $3.5 million worth of royalty fees, eventually leading to its casino operating license and prestigious five-star hotel classification being canceled according to the Nepalese regulations.
The Department of Tourism stated that the hotel failed to pay its outstanding debts in spite of the repeated follow-ups. The hotel also had all its bank accounts and real property frozen.
Dreamland Hotel Defaulted More Than $5 Million
According to the same Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, the Happy Hour-operated Dreamland Hotel in Nepalgunj also had its operating license revoked for failing to pay royalty worth more than $50,000 for its casino operations.
Dreamland also owes royalty worth more than $5 million to the Nepalese government, despite being repeatedly sent written requests to clear its dues. As a result of failing to abide by the laws, the Ministry took firm action against it by shutting it down. The Nepal Police Headquarters received written requests from the Ministry to close down the hotel in the shortest time possible.
Dreamland Hotel first opened its mini-casino wing in September 2019, when Happy Hour was allowed to run gambling operations there.
Nepal’s land casinos were closed for a year and a half during the COVID-19 pandemic and officially reopened last October. In the meanwhile, the government decided to assist those casinos that had been diligently paying their yearly fees up until the start of the pandemic.
Nepalese officials waived a yearly royalty fee for the fiscal year that ended on June 30 2021 for around eight or nine such casinos, which is a small number compared to the total number of land gambling venues in the country.