INCLA Calls On Indian PM To Permit Gambling On Cruise Ships
What's going to be the biggest draw for Indian cruise ships in 2019? It's going to be gambling on the high seas if the India Cruise Lines Association (INCLA) has anything to say about it. The trade body has recently petitioned the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to make several concessions and amendments in India's gambling laws to allow for casinos to be allowed on cruise ships.
The INCLA made this demand after receiving backing from some top stakeholders. The INCLA are being backed by Essel Group Chairman Subhash Chandra who is also a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha.
Jurgen Bailom, the INCLA convenor discussed the organization's demands with the media and said that apart from requesting for casinos to be allowed on cruise ships, the petition also includes a reduction on the Goods and Service Tax (GST) on goods and services onboard cruise ships, and single window clearances.
The biggest demand though is for casinos to be allowed on cruise ships as the association believes cruise operators are being restricted from offering better services and maximizing their profits.
In a statement, a cruise line operator said
Currently, these services are provided to the cruise passengers while the cruise ship is beyond 12 / 200 nautical miles from the Indian coastline since these entertainment and gambling laws do not tend to apply beyond 12 / 200 nautical miles. However, while the cruise ship is within the Indian Territory, cruise liners are unable to provide gaming, entertainment and casino services to the passengers and meet their expectations.
Aggressive Moves From INCLA
This is not the first time that the INCLA has pushed for such amendments. Earlier this year, the trade body sent similar demands to Nitin Gadkari, the current Union Minister for Shipping, Road Transport, Highways, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation. In addition, the INCLA also asked the government to lift the restrictions on foreign investment in casinos on cruise ships.
These are pretty aggressive moves and it is not surprising that MP Chandra is throwing his support behind it. The Essel Group has several investments in the gaming and lottery industry. Currently, Essel runs several state lotteries under the Playwin brand name. Additionally, it also handles online poker rooms and fantasy sports sites.
Essel has tried in the past to get its hands into the floating casino industry in Goa. However, it failed to get a license to operate from the state government. This time around the Essel Group is going via the INCLA to push for casinos on cruise ships.