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Betting in Nepal

Published on: 01/02/2016

Nepal is situated in South Asia between India and Tibet and is home to Mount Everest, the tallest peak on the planet. The nation is home to around 30 million citizens of which 80% are Hindu. The national language is known as Nepali.

Unlike many other nations in South Asia, Nepal licences and regulates casinos. In order to take advantage of the tourist trade, all hotels that hold five-star status are permitted to host casinos. As a result, Nepal attracts many visitors from neighbouring countries keen to take advantage of the relaxed regulations.

However, the law states that citizens of Nepal are not permitted to use any gambling services including casinos or sports betting establishments. Kathmandu was the venue for the first casino - known as the Casino Nepal - which was opened by an American businessman named Richard. D. Tuttle in 1968. The 2,500 square-foot property included two restaurants, a 300-room hotel, 11 gaming tables and 60 slot machines. A further seven casinos were opened under Tuttle’s guidance. His attempts to open an eighth in 2007 were scuppered by the ruling Nepalese communist party, who discovered that revenue from the existing venues was being channelled directly into the accounts of the royal family.

In 2007, Nepal became a federal democratic republic and initiated moves to abolish the monarchy and clean up the culture of corruption that had developed between them and local businessmen. The King was finally deposed by the Maoist government in 2008.

In an attempt to wipe out illegal bookmakers, a clean-up operation was carried out which uncovered a web of organised crime. Prior to the operation, a string of murders, robberies and extortion rackets were directly attributed to turf wars between illegal bookmakers. As a result, all of Kathmandu’s eight casinos were ordered to relocate outside of the capital and four smaller venues were forced to close. Since the change, the once-thriving gambling scene in the capital has all but vanished and tourist numbers have dropped.

To this day, the only gambling activity that citizens of Nepal can legally partake in is elephant polo. Wagering on the sport was originally permitted by the King and remains legal to this day. Online sportsbooks and casinos are strictly forbidden and only foreigners over the age of 21 may use the last remaining casino halls.

However, those with a desire to bet can do so via foreign online bookmakers. Around 450 top sportsbooks based outside of Nepal accept bets from citizens within the country. These include famous names such as William Hill, Bet365, Paddy Power, Ladbrokes, Unibet, 888 Sport