KATHMANDU: As a natural byproduct of the restrictions of Nepali nationals in the Casinos run in the Five Star Hotels in the country, the illegal ‘mini-casinos’ are mushrooming in the country. The gamblers have developed their houses into ‘casinos’. The trend is not confined to the capital city alone, it’s spreading in most of the major cities of the country.
On Kartik 9, the Metropolitan Unit of Nepal Police raided a house used as ‘casino’ and nabbed 25 gamblers ranging from the notorious dons and politicians to the businesspersons and politicians. According to Hobindra Bogati, the spokesperson of the Metropolitan Police Range, Kathmandu, the police seized 26.7 million cash and some of the blank cheques from the incident site.
Nabbing the involved with such a large amount during the Tihar festival is a representative case. Police statistics reveal that in 43 such raids the police have arrested 465 persons and have confiscated the cash worth 33 million rupees. According to Nepal Police Spokesperson Bishwo Raj Pokharel, the police had launched a special campaign targeting such incidents recurring during festivals.
What do the official statistics say?
Case Registered Arrested (No. of Persons)
– FY 2073/74 206 1504
– FY 2074/75 359 2824
– FY 2075/76 391 2869
The spokesperson of Nepal Police further claimed that Nepal police has intensified its concern in such unofficial gambling after the decision to restrict Nepali citizens in the Casinos was enforced. Organized unofficial gambling has been the rise in the capital and major cities of the country since such a ban on the casino.
Where are such gambling centers?
Shailesh Thapa, DIG at the Metropolitan Police Office, Ranipokhari Kathmandu, claims to have intensified the nabbing operation with the increasing numbers of information about such unlawful activities in private houses, rooms, hotels, restaurants, and resorts.
They use few houses, restaurants and guest houses located in lonely areas as there havens. According to the police, most of such centers use tarot cards for gambling, though Tibetan dikes are in use in such stations in Bouddha. Uttam Raj Subedi, Chief of Metropolitan Police Office, Kathmandu says that the police have got some information about such places in operation as mini-casinos and claims to have launched the strategy to curb such activities.
Bishworaj Pokharel, the Spokesperson of Nepal Police echoing the claims of Subedi further adds, ‘In many bordering areas, the gamblers from India have been using Nepali side as a safe haven whereas the Nepali gamblers are enjoying such mini-casinos in the bordering towns of India.’ According to him, ‘ The police have been nabbing the gamesters from the bordering towns as well.’
Homely visitors of such centers
The details of the gamblers arrested on October 26 reveal that most of the visitors of such centers are the ones involved in illegal and unlawful trades and activities who have managed to accumulate wealth through unlawful means. Gangster Balaram Sapkota (Bale) aka Casio-king, Pradip Bogati the crusher entrepreneur and others nabbed in Maharajgunj incident heed the trend. It is said that even the police turn their deaf ears against such mini-casinos run by those close to the renowned politicians, senior officials of security forces and senior bureaucrats.
Meter-interest and sexual exploitation growing common in such centers
According to the Police, in most of the houses and rented flats used as gambling haven liquor and sex-trade is growing common. It is found that most of the gamblers are found sexually exploiting the young girls employed as assistant at the site.
Most of the professional gambling stations have the provision of drinks and sex-trade often sexual exploitation. The young women nabbed during the raid are proof of such practices growing common in such places. Not only this, the large sum earned from the gamblers is often supplied in high-interest/ meter-interest to the ‘crazy’ gamblers.
Prevalent Legal Provisions
Chapter 5 of Criminal Code Act 2074, has the provision that first time offender as a player or the one organizing the gambling shall be liable to imprisonment up to 3 months or fine up to 30 thousand rupees. Those committing the offense from second time onwards shall be liable to imprisonment up to 1 year or fine up to 50 thousand rupees. For such offense for the third time onwards shall make the person who commits or causes to commit such an act shall be additional imprisonment of 3 months and fine up to 10 thousand for each additional offense.
Similarly, all the cash and goods which is used, or brought or kept with the intention of using it for an act shall be confiscated. However, the building, room, place or vehicle shall not be confiscated.
People agree that such gambling not only ruins the life and social prestige of the people but also increases the number of crimes in the society. Hence, timely stitch from the concerned authority the most for it.