• Monday, Jan 25, 2021
  • Last Update : 12:21 am

Illegal casinos: The Nepal connection

  • Published at 01:00 am September 24th, 2019
File photo of Ashish Shrestha

Investigators have found the direct or indirect involvement of about 100 foreign nationals in Bangladesh’s illegal casino business

In a move to unearth the Nepalese connection to the Bangladeshi casino industry, investigators are looking into Ashish Shrestha, a high up at a major casino in Nepal.

Nepalese national Shrestha was involved in the operation of the casino at Dhaka’s Victoria Club, which was raided by police on Sunday in the recent crackdown on illegal casinos. Shrestha is also assistant managing director at Bally's Casino in Nepal.

“Shrestha was involved in setting up the casino equipment and acted as a skilled hand for operation of the machines at Victoria Club,” an official who is part of the investigation told Dhaka Tribune.

Investigators have found the direct or indirect involvement of about 100 foreign nationals in Bangladesh’s illegal casino business. Most of the foreign nationals are Nepalese.

The Bally’s Casino where Shrestha is employed is on the premises of the Hotel Malla in Thamel, Kathmandu. There is also a Bally’s Casino in Sri Lanka, which is one of the largest and oldest casinos in Colombo.

The casinos offer traditional casino games such as roulette, baccarat, blackjack, poker, and slots, as well as dance performances and other entertainment for visitors. 

Although Shrestha was employed by Bally’s Casino since January 2018, he has long been involved in the casino industry.  Besides other countries, he has been to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Singapore,  to set up and operate casinos.

 “Many Nepalese nationals were involved in the casino business in Bangladesh. The equipment we have seized from the sporting clubs are similar to those used in Nepali casinos,” Dhaka Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner (Motijheel Zone) Mishu Biswas told the Dhaka Tribune.

He added that police had obtained Shrestha’s phone numbers- both for Bangladesh and Nepal – and were investigating any connection he may have to Bangladeshi casinos.

Dhaka Tribune attempted to contact Shrestha who is currently abroad, by WhatsApp, but he did not answer the call.

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