The Andhra Pradesh Government is looking at the possibility of floating casinos within the Indian territorial waters off the coast of Visakhapatnam for revenue generating purposes. Facing difficulties with a good and services tax (GST) revenue gap due to the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the state government is exploring the idea of promoting tourism through casinos, similar to the offshore casinos in the River Mandovi in Goa.
Andhra Pradesh has 975 km of coastline, with Indian territorial waters extending 12 nautical miles off the coast.
A government official said,
“The state needs revenue and has reached out to the Centre for these floating casinos off the Visakhapatnam coast.
“Offshore casinos are being explored for some time now. Andhra Pradesh needs revenue and has a huge coastline that can be leveraged for promoting tourism.”
The state government has previously been against the concept of gambling and has maintained objections for a long time. This would be a very peculiar and surprising move if true. The Andhra Pradesh Gaming (Amendment) Ordinance-2020 was published at the end of September. Offshore casinos would presumably have to operate under separate legislation.