Sikkim is a landlocked state of India, and the last to give up its monarchy and fully integrate into India in 1975. Located in the Himalayan mountains, the state is bordered by Nepal to the west, China’s Tibet Autonomous Region to the north and east, and Bhutan to the east. The Indian state of West Bengal lies to the south. According to 2011 census Sikkim has a population of 607,688 inhabitants and is the least populous state in India with a geographical area of approximately 7,096 sq km.
Sikkim is nonetheless geographically diverse due to its location in the Himalayas; the climate ranges from subtropical to high alpine, and Kangchenjunga, the world’s third-highest peak, is located on Sikkim’s border with Nepal. Sikkim is a popular tourist destination, owing to its culture, scenery and biodiversity. It also has the only open land border between India and China. Sikkim’s capital and largest city is Gangtok. Almost 25% of the state is covered by the Khangchendzonga National Park.
In recent years, the government of Sikkim has extensively promoted tourism. As a result, state revenue has increased 14 times since the mid-1990s. Sikkim has furthermore invested in a fledgling gambling industry, promoting both casinos and online gambling. The state’s first casino, the Casino Sikkim, opened in March 2009, and the government subsequently issued a number of additional casino licences and online sports betting licenses. The Playwin lottery has been a notable success in the state.
The opening of the Nathu La pass on 6 July 2006, connecting Lhasa, Tibet, to India, was billed as a boon for Sikkim’s economy. Trade through the pass remains hampered by Sikkim’s limited infrastructure and government restrictions in both India and China, though the volume of traded goods has been steadily increasing.