Multiple offshore-casinos have approached the Corporation of the City of Pune (CCP) seeking renewals for their licenses. According to the Times Of India, the CCP Mayor, Uday Madkaikar has said that the decision is currently on hold.
There has been some serious political opposition against river casinos but it seems like due to the coronavirus’s effect on the revenues, three casinos in contact with the CCP are given new licenses to operate.
The civic body is also running low on cash and recorded an Rs. 11 Crores deficit in March for the financial year. One proposal to increase revenue was to double the tax on casinos to Rs. 2 Lakhs a year.
Six floating casinos in the Mandovi river contribute to Rs. 56 Crores in revenue each year for the CCP. Also, it’s no secret that a lot of other industries are also reliant on the casinos for engagement. The casinos have a wider economic benefit for Goa.
Madkaikar is quoted as saying:
“CCP has kept the applications on hold, but in the current situation, local businessmen and tourist taxi operators had come to use and told us that if casinos are closed down, they would have no business.”
All relevant stakeholders will be consulted but this is bound to stir up some emotions because Panaji MLA Atanasio Monseratte had promised to remove all off-shore casinos within 100 days of winning the 2019 Panaji by-elections but has repeatedly reneged on that promise.
Goa casinos, for the last few years, have been given 6-month licenses to operate, the most recent one being in April 2020.
The casinos themselves have been hit hard by the lockdown with Casino Pride’s boss calling for a tax break among other measures to help the ailing sector.
Despite a loosening of restrictions nationwide, they remain shut, and in June they were told by Pramod Sawant that there were no plans to reopen casinos soon.