Nepal to have ninth casino

Kathmandu, August 19:

Nepal will soon have its ninth casino according to the plans of an American expatriate Richard Doyle Tuttle, who pioneered the money-spinning business industry in the country.

Tuttle plans to establish a casino at Hotel Malla, which was upgraded into a five star hotel last December.

As per the existing rules, only five star hotels are licensed to run a casino.

“We have already signed an operation contract with the hotel management,” confirmed Tuttle adding that the new casino will come into operation by early next year.

“Our plan is to begin a fully operational casino on the New Year’s eve 2008,” he told this daily, adding that name of the proposed casino is yet to be finalised.

Currently, there are eight casinos in the country — seven in Kathmandu and one in troubled Fulbari Resort of Pokhara.

The launch of the new casino could end four-decade long monopoly in the country’s casino industry.

Nepal Recreation Centre (NRC), a joint venture company, which enjoys monopoly

in the money-spinning gambling industry, currently runs all eight casinos in Nepal.

Tuttle’s plan to establish a new casino came out at a time when he is locked in an ownership dispute with his former protégé and partner Rakesh Wadhwa.

Currently, the two are fighting a legal battle for a control of the NRC, the only license holder to operate casinos in Nepal.

While Tuttle is running five of the eight casinos, including the one in Pokhara, Wadhwa manages the remaining three.

Although Tuttle didn’t disclose the details about investment in the new casino, he said that a Hong Kong company would have a majority share (80 per cent) in the new gaming station. He further added that some procedural formalities are yet to be finalised regarding a new investment company.

Stating that the ownership row is now a sub-judice matter, Tuttle said he would run the casino under a new management company, even if he losses the court battle.

The Hotel Malla management has also confirmed that it has already stuck a deal

with the American casino baron. The construction of a building in the hotel premises

is at final stage, an employee of the hotel said.

Established in 1975, Hotel Malla is located at Lekhnath Marg between the Narayanhiti Royal Palace and Thamel, a popular tourist hub in Kathmandu and was upgraded to a five star hotel just a year ago.