Goa Looks To Close Down Their Offshore Casinos As Other States Want To Open
The Indian state of Goa has been up in arms over its offshore casino industry for the last few years. The floating casinos of Goa bring in both gambling revenue and tourism revenue while creating hundreds of jobs in the state. However, political, religious and environmental concerns have put pressure on the state government to shut them down.
In March 2020, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant gave offshore casino operators a license extension till September and warned them that this could be their last extension. This game between the state government and offshore casino operators has been going for the last two years where they have been threatened with closure only to be given a 6 month license extension.
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Goa closed its casino industry in May 2020 due to the COVID-19 shutdown and has yet to give the casinos approval to open. As of now, there has been no license extension provided to offshore casino operators and CM Sawant has not said anything about providing them with another six month license extension.
Andhra Pradesh Looking At Floating Casinos
While Goa’s floating casino industry might be coming to an end, the state of Andhra Pradesh is thinking of launching their own offshore casino industry. Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and his government have been discussing the possibility of launching an offshore casino industry that will operate off the coast of Visakhapatnam.
The AP coast runs for 975 kms and the territorial waters in India goes on for 12 nautical miles which opens the door for these floating casinos to operate. AP like most states in India are facing a lot of economic woes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and is looking for new ways to bring in revenue and create jobs.
This is not the first time that AP has looked at launching a floating casino industry but this time around there is a strong push due to market conditions. The AP government believes that a floating casino industry will also do well for its tourism market, especially if Goa shuts down its offshore casino industry. AP is also looking to launch a new state lottery and is currently working on the idea.
However, expect the move to introduce offshore casinos in AP to receive a lot of opposition from both political and religious fronts. There are many who are surprised to see AP push for an offshore casino industry given that the state banned online gambling in September 2020.
Carolyn is our legislation expert, with a background in law she is able to cover the current state of gambling around the world