Nepal keen on Goa-Kathmandu casino circuit

Panaji, Aug 5 (IANS) Nepal is keen on facilitating a mutually beneficial gambling circuit between casinos in Kathmandu and Goa, a Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) official said Monday.

Addressing the media while showcasing Nepal's tourism portfolio here, Udaya Bhattarai, the Board's assistant manager, said it was up to private entrepreneurs who ran the casino industry in both countries to get the synergy going.

"Nepal Tourism Board is keen on it. But it is up to the private sector to start the process of partnership," Bhattarai said.

The Nepalese capital Kathmandu and Goa are major gambling destinations in South Asia, attracting thousands of tourists annually.

While Goa's five operational onshore casinos and a dozen-odd casinos in five star hotels are a relatively recent phenomenon, Kathmandu's prowess as a casino destination dates back to several decades. According to Bhattarai, Nepal casions attract mostly Indian gamblers.

"The casino industry has contributed as an economic activity to Nepal and ensured high quality tourists visit us," Bhattarai said.

A recent hike in the royalty by the Nepal government has led to the fear of some casinos closing down.

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