Nepali Times Asian Paints
Politically Cracked
Roll the dice


Rakesh Wadhwa ‚Ä" casino king, stalwart defender of the free market, and journalist-turned-novelist ‚Ä" surprised his invitees when he failed to show up at the launch of his own book, The Dealmaker, at an upmarket eatery in the capital last week. Kathmandu elites collectively sniggered when the police suggested that he might have done a runner before the event because they were cracking down on casinos, issuing arrest warrants for managers for letting Nepali nationals gamble. The casino tycoon was apparently being investigated by the authorities for tax evasion.

It was a perfect mix of glitz, money and crime and the media had a field day. News of men who had lost all their assets in the casinos covered the pages. Then came the stories of those who had resorted to kidnapping and murder to procure money they owed to loan sharks. Meanwhile, greedy capitalists were breaking a 42-year-old law by letting Nepalis willingly gamble their money away, not paying taxes on the money they were making illegally, and, according to some, feeding deadly crimes in the country.

But if you follow the money, it isn't just going to the Goldfinger Casino in Goa that Wadhwa is said to be starting soon. Ex-home minister Bamdev Gautam, who tried unsuccessfully to keep the locals out of the casinos, has claimed that members of the police force routinely took bribes to turn a blind eye to casinos. When asked to conduct routine checks, police would alert the managers of their impending arrival.

Gautam's attempt to crack down might have been motivated by his claim that the Maoists had a stronghold in the casinos. About 1,600 people, most of them Maoist-affiliated union members, are employed in various casinos in Kathmandu and Pokhara. He has accused then tourism minister Hisila Yami of complicity, for protecting the union that resisted enforcement of the no-Nepali rule, which took to the streets to make sure they continued to gamble.
So the fingers are pointing in all directions. The question that seems to have fallen between the cracks is why not just legalise gambling altogether? After all, it is a voluntary tax on idiots. Reports state that 80 per cent of the casinos' income comes from their Nepali patrons. Like drugs, porn and alcohol, there are choices people are going to make with or without the government's help. If they are determined to squander their money why not tax it, and use it for something better?

"Did you hear about the man addicted to gambling, who kidnapped and killed a girl?" asked the reporter who wrote a news story titled 'Casino breeds crimes' (Himal Khabarpatrika, 17 November). Yes, and did you hear about the man who hacked his two daughters to death with an axe last week because his new wife didn't want to look after them? It is not the wife's fault the crime occurred; it is the murderer's lack of a moral compass that is to blame.

Locking down the casinos does not solve crime, nor does it prevent people from gambling. May I remind you of the online gambling sites that will be happy to take your money, minus the free drinks? In fact, the more we allow the government to intervene in our lives, the more opportunities there are for corruption. Only individuals can be their own moral agents. The government should not be in the business of wiping everyone's asses because people are too lazy to do it themselves.

Princely returns?, ASHUTOSH TIWARI

1. Ayesha

Your argument that only individuals can be their own moral agents is not convincing. If that is so, why do we need a government? When Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau talked about the rationality for a government, it was for the very reason that society could not be left to individual moral compass.

About gambling, just for getting some revenues, should government legitimatise gambling? If so, how about brothels? Government not legitimatising it hasn't stopped people from  getting involved in it, so by the same login are you fine about legitimatizing brothels?



2. jange
1. Ayesha

Your argument that only individuals can be their own moral agents is not convincing.

Who else but yourself can be responsible for your actions?

3. R RAI

Writer's conclusion is over-simplistic and misleading (unfortunately, her attitude towards drug,alcohol,porn,casino etc. is very much based on this over-simplistic conclusion). If it was only the individual morality then we would not need any external boundaries,rules regulations and laws.

Even the serious criminologists accept that crime and criminal human behaviour are extremely complex and believe many factors interplay viz. individual(moral values,upbringing,even brain diseases)etc.,psychological,social,prevailing laws, relatively easy or difficult access etc.

One example for Ms Nepal to consider, there is much more gun related homicides in US compared to European countries- easy access to guns in the US explains a lot.

Mu humble request to Ms Nepal - please do some serious study before writing on such complex issues like crime,criminal behaviour,morality etc.

4. Naresh

Recently, a New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof argued that makeing 'pot' free in California could save as much as 17 billion dollars for the U.S. Govt. So, like Kristof, I liked this thesis very much. For, every man is not Socrates. We must know that law alone is not binding when multiple forces disrupt the fora amidst the politically nascent status of our nation.

First 1. these stupid squanderers are never going to be stopped ,as shows in any portion of the globe 2. tax is essential for every sound economy, and is the basis of modern capitalism approaches to dealing with problems like drugs, crimes, family relations should be duly adressed as these issues can't be restricted by law so effectively.

I loved your idea.

5. Anish
People miss the point that 'industries' like gambling, prostitution, drugs, porn etc are not moral issues. They are economic issues. No one can ever eliminate them but they can be curtailed by economic incentives or disincentives. Morality cannot be policed but actions can be encouraged or discouraged. I think focus must be more on discouraging consumption of products and services of these industries through economic policies. Making these issues about morality just helps making these 'industries' more glamorous, like anything that is anti-establishment.

6. jange
If you are going to legalise gambling it would be a good idea to make gambling debts unenforceable in law.

7. here n there
Ms. Ayesha's 12yrs old and likes her guardians telling her what color hair bands and socks she should wear. 

It is about personal freedom, an individual's right to spend their own money & entertain themselves without infringing on others rights. Leave brothels for another day - nice try. Go to any developed nation and anyone over legal age is allowed to enter, at the casino operators discretion. And the people there are not behaving any more or less immorally towards one another. You read Locke, Hobbes and etc, maybe should start with Brave New World.

8. Ritesh banerjee

Mr. Wadhwa has recently released a novel, called 'the deal maker'. Releasing a libertarian novel at a time like this clearly shows his itnrepid dedication to libertarian ideas. The novel is the first of its kind in South Asia, and is modelled on "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. Its a wonderful read. And gives an immense perpective into the possibilities of liberty.

In fact the model described for India in the book might well be employed for nepal. Nepal as an emerging nation state, would want its economy to develope, and the deal maker provides a great perspective into how this might be possible. In fact as seen through Mr. wadhwa's eyes libertarian ideas are really benifit the common man and are not the privelege of an elite but rather the heritage of anyone who strives in a feild.

9. Gheo Chaku Naran
The state of Nevada has no resources of any significance yet utilized ; so they allow gambling as the main revenue generating resource.
So Federal States of Nepal should have to take refuge on gambling as the best revenue making resource in the coming days when we will have states based on race and ethnic tribes;although no VDCs are mono-cultural.
So Casinos are going to stay not only for our guests but also for our bhumi-puteras/putras . Casinos bhintuna.!

10. Ramji

Actually the law and order of the country should equally be imposed to all people either¬†for national or international who reside in the country. Here is a big flaw in the country√Į¬Ņ¬Ĺs law. It has given legal right to international people to involve in gambling while for the national citizen it is a big crime. Why? While residing in my country whether he is an American or an Indian, whether he is living in star-hotel or he is spending night in footpath, all has to obey the country√Į¬Ņ¬Ĺs rules.

If gambling is a crime as per the country√Į¬Ņ¬Ĺs rules, all should obey it perfectly. Otherwise, all Nepalese people should get entry into all casinos without any restriction. If gambling is crime why do you invite foreigners to involve in crime? This is my question to the Government authority. If it is a crime, ¬†stop it strictly, if not,¬†open for all equally.


(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)