Maharashtra Could Earn Upto Rs. 1,500cr With On-shore Casinos

Maharashtra Could Earn Upto Rs. 1,500cr With On-shore Casinos June 1, 2016 June 1, 2016 Paul Butcher
 General June 1, 2016 by Paul Butcher

maharashtraThe Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has estimated that permitting on-shore casinos in the Indian state of Maharashtra would bring in revenues of upto Rs.1,500 crore (US$277 million) on a yearly basis.

The MTDC made this claim at a high-level government meeting over the regulation of the casino industry in the state.

The meeting discussed various aspects related to allowing casino gambling such as licensing, security and revenue generation. Although no decision was taken, all departments have been asked to give in their suggestions.

In a statement a government official said,

If onshore casinos are allowed as recreational facilities along the Konkan beaches, including Mumbai, and if 40 percent of foreign tourists and 25 percent of domestic tourists visit these places, the industry can get an annual turnover of roughly Rs. 6,000 crore.

According to an MTDC official, the state would be able to net taxes from a percentage of this revenue, amounting to around Rs. 1,500 crore. Senior officials have said that the final decision on the matter will be taken by the chief minister after all issues have been addressed.

The decision is under government’s consideration as a result of a legal case filed by a law student Jay Satya which requested the High Court to order the state government to implement a law legalizing casinos in the state in 1976 that was never notified. The Maharashtra Casinos (Control and Tax) Act, 1976, was published in the government gazette but not implemented. The High Court has directed the government to respond on the matter.

MTDC, the state-owned tourism body has been strongly in favor of the proposal citing its positive impact on the tourism in the state.Maharashtra is said to have many illegal gambling operations already running leading to industry experts saying that legalizing the industry would put an end to these illegal operations and cause the state to profit from the legalized industry.

Legalized casino gambling is currently permitted in only three states in India which are Goa, Daman and Sikkim. Casinos in Goa current currently pay over Rs. 100 crores in taxes to the state government on a yearly basis. Additional revenue from legalizing casinos would be welcome for Maharashtra which has a debt of over Rs 3.30 lakh crore. The issue is however contentious in India with many members of the ruling party BJP party and the opposing party against the legalization of casinos.. Local media have reported that state ministers have expressed their disapproval of the proposal and may vote against it if it comes up.

Paul ButcherAuthor

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