Casinos contribute Rs 135 Cr to Govt coffers

PTI, PANAJI | 13 April 2013 13:25 IST

Casinos, a key attraction for tourists visiting Goa, contributed a healthy Rs. 135.45 crore to the state government's coffers in fiscal 2012-13.

According to official figures, casino industry paid Rs.135.45 crore in the form of various taxes, including entertainment, entry, liquor licences and port charges (from casino vessels anchored off the state's coast).

The revenue was collected by four different departments of the Goa government.

The revenue collection figures from the previous fiscal (2011-12) were not made available.

Casinos charge Rs. 500 per customer as entry tax and the entire amount is paid to the government. They contributed Rs. 17.96 crore in the form of entry fee, which was lowered from Rs. 2,000 per person during the last budget (FY 2011-12).

The government had earned criticism for lowering entry tax, although it hiked licence fee for casino operators.

The government charged Rs. 6.5 crore per off-shore and Rs. 2.5 crore per on-shore casino as licence fee, netting Rs. 32.50 crore and Rs. 25 crore, respectively for the last fiscal.

The two-decade-old casino industry currently operates 10 on-land and five off-shore casinos. In all, they employ around 5,000 people, industry sources said.

Goa, which charges 15% entertainment tax, has collected Rs. 53.29 crore revenue from this levy in 2012-13. In addition, the casino industry paid Rs. 2 crore worth of value-added tax (VAT) on food and beverages.

The off-shore casinos paid Rs. 1 crore as liquor licence fee and on-shore ones paid Rs. 1.2 crore, according to the figures.

In addition to these taxes, the off shore casinos have also paid Rs 2.5 crore in the form of various charges to Captain of port, fisheries and River navigation departments. 

A senior Casino industry player told PTI that there has been lots of myth floated around by vested interest people that prostitution, drug abuse, among other vices goes on in the casinos. 

“But the mere fact that the past 20 years have not been a single instance of such cases so far occurred in and around casinos or where casinos are involved. By any standards a long enough periods have passed to judge the credibility of the owners, employees and the industry,” he added.

The on shore casinos were first introduced by amending The Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act, 1976 in 1992 by Government of Goa, allowing electronic gaming to boost tourism.

Industry players recall that initially big groups like The Renaissance, Cidade de Goa and Leela were the initial hotels to start land casinos operations.

In 1998-99, government amended the law to bring off shore gaming which gave birth to Casino Caravela.

“In 2006 -07 the Goa government passed a cabinet decision to allow five more offshore casinos on a first come first serve basis,” he stated.

This paved the way for Delta Corp, CP (Casino Pride) Group, Leela and  Salgaonkars to enter the off shore casino market with huge vessels of international standards, such as Casino Royal, Casino Pride, The Leela, Casino Carnival. 


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