At sixes and sevens

Divided opinion amongst members of the government taskforce formed to suggest whether Nepalis should be allowed to gamble in casinos has left the issue still unresolved. Following the Anna casino dispute several weeks back, the government had formed a taskforce with instructions to report whether it was acceptable to permit Nepalis to gamble in the casinos. However, the discussions have reached a deadlock after the casino management and workers stood up against the motion. The casino owners argue that prohibition on Nepali entry would lead Nepalis to gamble in Indian casinos. That is clearly an unwarranted claim. Such arguments, feeble as they are, could be extended to so many other issues. The entry of Nepalis is already illegal. Those allowing it must be punished.

Many Nepali families have gone broke because of the casinos. If casinos are thought to help attract more tourists, Nepal definitely has better things in store to offer them. If truth be told, casinos have helped many foreigners to convert their black money into legitimate earnings. Nepalis’ entry would be profitable to casino owners, but it in no way serves the interest of society. If prohibiting Nepalis from gambling in casinos alone puts the jobs of workers at risk, or pushes the operators into a loss, so be it. There are lakhs of unemployed Nepalis. The profit of a very few businessmen must not be defended at the expense of our larger interests.