Mum­bai May Soon Have a Casino Royal

Ma­ha­rash­tra govt study­ing state tourism corp’s pro­posal to al­low off­shore casi­nos

The Economic Times - - Front Page -

Shailesh Menon and Kr­ishna Ku­mar

Mum­bai: Ma­ha­rash­tra is study­ing a pro­posal by the Ma­ha­rash­tra Tourism De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion to le­galise casi­nos in the state.

ET has ex­clu­sive de­tails of the MTDC pro­posal ask­ing the govern­ment to al­low off­shore casi­nos where only for­eign tourists will be al­lowed ini­tially, and once the ven­ture be­comes suc­cess­ful, the govern­ment may al­low In­dian cit­i­zens too. Aware that the pro­posal may in­vite op­po­si­tion from many quar­ters, MTDC has sug­gested that the govern­ment should run the casi­nos in the ini­tial phase of a cou­ple of years in­stead of al­low­ing private play­ers. “Once it is suc­cess­ful, then the govern­ment could al­low private play­ers. This may give boost to govern­ment rev­enues and also help boost tourism in a big way,” said a se­nior of­fi­cial on con­di­tion of anonymity. Cur­rently only Goa and Sikkim al­low off­shore casi­nos.

How­ever, MTDC has not sug­gested sites for these off­shore gambling es­tab­lish­ments.

MTDC says for­eign­ers be al­lowed ini­tially at the casi­nos, and once ven­ture is a suc­cess, In­di­ans may also be al­lowed

INEW DELHI: PM Naren­dra Modi has In­ci­den­tally, the state al­ready

send a twohas a law in place, the Ma­ha­rash­tra mem­ber Casi­nos team (con­trolto and Tax) ArunachalAct, 1976, Pradeshto reg­u­late for such es­tab­lish­ments.as­sess­ing the How­ever,dam­age the rules in werethe wakenot framedof the re­and the Act cent was land­sli­de­not no­ti­fied,in which meant the Act could not be en

Tawang Dis­trict. The forced. In Oc­to­ber 2015, the Bom­bay team High­will sub­mit Court a on rea public port in­tere­ston relief lit­i­ga­tio­nand com­chal­leng­ing pen­sa­tion­the de­lay pack­age.in fram­ingTwo the rules land­slideshad di­recte­din Tawang the on state to take Aprila stand22 and on 23 the killed is­sue. 19 “There are only three op­tions

peo­ple. Modi has al­be­fore the state govern­ment;

ready sanc­tioned ex­one - frame poli­cies and en­force gra­tiathe law, relief two of – ₹ 2 study lakh what other each statesto the are kin doin­gof the with re­gard de­ceasedto le­gal­isin­gand ₹ 50,000 gambling, and, each threeto those– re­peal se­ri­ous­lythe Act through the leg­isla­tive route,”

in­jured.— ex­plained Jay Sayta, a re­searcher in gambling laws and founder of GLaws.in, a gam­ing laws web por­tal. The MTDC pro­posal has come in the back­drop of the afore­men­tioned PIL. ET has learnt that a few top govern­ment func­tionar­ies and min­is­ters are not averse to the idea of off­shore casi­nos. But the move may not be a smooth one as the govern­ment may face op­po­si­tion from its ally in the govern­ment Shiv Sena as well as from within the BJP it­self.

“This casino busi­ness should not be al­lowed, there are other ways to earn rev­enue for the state. If this pro­posal ever comes up, I will op­pose it,” said a se­nior BJP min­is­ter when ET sought his opin­ion.

How­ever, a top bu­reau­crat coun­tered him, “We are per­mit­ting lot­tery, lakhs of peo­ple spend their money on it yet we don’t seem to have a prob­lem with it. Casi­nos and lot­tery both work on the prin­ci­ples of luck. The state has a debt of .₹ 3.30 lakh crore and this would come in handy and boost tourism too.”

Il­lus­tra­tion: ANIR­BAN

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