The Orient likes to bet. Some say it’s genetic, others say it’s about facing one’s destiny and a challenge of luck. What is certain is that here, you can find a city also known as the Las Vegas of the Orient and we all know that were referring to Macao. It’s true that millions, tens or maybe hundreds of millions of Chinese can’t fit in Macao. And they aren’t the only ones that are passionate about the game. Indians, as many as the latter, are also passionate about the game, but they can’t bet legally, except in two provinces on the west coast. So, this is something the small state of Nepal can benefit from.
“The Small Vegas” of the Himalayas
The brilliant Las Vegas will have some serious competition in the near future… A new tourist center dedicated to gambling enthusiasts attracts more and more rich people from around the world in the place where no one ever thought such a business would be a success. At the border between India and Nepal, a city not many have heard of, Siddharthanagar, former Bhairahawa, holds a resort known as “the Small Vegas”. Tiger Palace Resort is already considered to be the largest casino in South Asia, but also the one to cause the most controversy, given the law in Nepal that forbids gambling for locals, but which makes an exception for tourists. Nepal is considered one of the largest gambling centers in South Asia, with eight casinos that operate only within its capital, Kathmandu. Tiger Palace is one of the preferred destinations for the hundreds of millions of Indians who wish to try their luck. In the middle of nowhere, 12 kilometers from the border between the two Asian countries, Tiger Palace is the first casino that has the declared purpose of attracting as many wealthy people from Northern India as possible.
Once you step inside the casino, you can bet at the blackjack or the roulette tables, and for those who prefer slot machines, the colorful games seem to be calling to you to try your luck. There’s even a VIP area on the first floor, where, usually, people leave colossal fortunes in one night. When it comes to drinks, the players have the finest selections at their disposal. A local vodka or a quality whiskey are best consumed when watching a football game on a giant screen near the bar. The resort at the foot of the Himalayas has a surface of over 26,000 square meters, several villas and a five star hotel with over 100 rooms furnished to the highest standards. Furthermore, the tourists can also take advantage of a spa, a pool and several restaurants throughout their entire stay at the luxurious Asian resort. The price per one night in this paradise starts from $100 and increases based on the period of time for which the reservation was made.
The casino in northern India is perfect for the 400 million Indians who live in the area and could make Nepal the next gambling capital in Asia. As in China, gambling is prohibited in India, with two small enclaves, Goa and Daman on the west coast, where casinos of any kind are legal. “India is a very wealthy country… hundreds of millions of people could participate in gambling, so we offered them a casino within their reach. Even along the Indian border, in a drive that takes a day from the Nepal border, there are 400 million Indians who live in an area that will soon have easy access to top games”, said Tim Shepherd, casino expert.
There are 11 casinos that function legally in Nepal. Aside from the largest, Tiger Palace, there are 8 in Kathmandu, and one in Jhapa and one in Nepalgunj. There are 52 game tables and over 200 slots in the Bhairahawa casino alone. The largest casino, out of the 8 in Kathmandu, is Casino Anna. Out of a total of 375 slot machines and 126 gambling tables, Casino Anna holds 200 slots and 40 game tables. The hotel where this casino is located has no less than 155 rooms.
Gambling, the antidote to poverty
Nepal is a developing country, with a rather stable economy, ranking 145 out of the 187 countries, according to the Human Development Index (HDI) as provided in the 2014 data. The greatest issues it faces are famine and poverty. However, the government has undertaken to free Nepal of this crisis until 2022. And certain measures seem to have already been taken. The small country hopes that tourism generated by its casinos will offer the economy its extremely needed push. The roads and airports near the border are undergoing modernization, while the national flight operator, Nepal Airlines, has launched direct routes that link Mumbai, that is western India, to Kathmandu. The Nepalese resort has already stirred up a lot of interest in certain companies who wish to buy the “gold mine”. The offers reach even USD 33 million.