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Why Is Gambling Legal In Goa But Not In Other Indian States?

Gambling is Legal in Goa
Goa is the only State in India with Legalised Casinos
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Casinos in Goa have become known for their legal entity which attracts many people of India and other foreign countries. It translates into huge amounts of cash spent within the state of Goa, and large earnings for the locals, hotels and casinos owners, and also for the government. The government earns a lot of money from gambling taxes, they show interest in keeping these casinos in Goa. Also, they keep strict tabs on these institutions and have various laws for preventing any unlawful activities. 

Gambling is often defined as betting, gaming, or participating in an activity that will be a game of luck and not the sport of skill to win a much bigger amount of money or any other prize by wagering some amount of money. 

Gambling in India is a big topic. This topic is generally discussed more due to the heavy restrictions imposed on it. When it comes to gambling, India is not one among the countries where gamblers can easily find casinos. 

Out of 29 states, only 3 have legalized gambling activities. These states have also imposed certain restrictions on gambling, hence gambling is not completely legal in India. 

Gambling is illegal in India except for Goa, Sikkim, and Daman. As gambling is illegal in most of India, these states have made gambling legal with the formation of legal statutes. The state of Goa has allowed gambling after the formation of the Goa, Daman, and Diu Public Gambling Act, 1976. But small amendments were made to it by the government that made gambling legal in Goa. 

The government amended to allow the slot machines in five-star hotels and card rooms in offshore vessels subject to prior approval and authorization of the government of Goa after the payment of a specified fee.

In the year 1992, the state of Goa started releasing gambling licenses to luxury hotels, and the establishments with permits were allowed to run slot machines. In the year 1996, they were even permitted to start out table games like poker and roulette, with the principle that such games would only be played in cruise ships and were not allowed in land casinos. 

Although Goa is the hotspot of gambling in India, in terms of population, it is the smallest in the country. The key behind being successful within the casino business is that Goa may be a coastal state. Therefore, it allows offshore vessel casinos besides the land-based casinos.  There are a total of 15 casinos operating in the land of Goa and offshore casinos. 

Being the smallest State with less population, the main source of income is tourism. Casinos are exclusively used by people who are local and foreign tourists. Goa residents are barred from using casinos since February 2020. In fact, the local residents before the ban mostly have not used casinos, and just 1% of people using casinos were not tourists. Hence, this decision did not have any impact on gambling revenues.

The state’s 15 casinos, five of them offshore, located in ships anchored on the Mandovi river receive some 15,000 guests every day, according to an estimate. The cover charges (alternate to entry fee, where you can utilize the entry fee you paid for) vary from anything ranging between INR 2500 and INR 5000. 

The state government earns more than 1.35bn rupees ($22m; £13m) in taxes from the thriving casino industry – this money, say, officials, is very useful at a time when government revenues have dipped after India’s Supreme Court banned mining in Goa last year, depriving the state of taxes.

Casinos play an important role in the tourism of Goa. The tax revenues from gambling have increased in the past few years. According to the center-state financial relationship, the government of goa is collecting gambling taxes. In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the Goa government collected Rs 411 crore from offshore and land-based casinos. In the tax brackets, the casinos are at the highest level, with a rate of 28%. 

In the year 2018, the licenses for both land-based and offshore casinos were increased. While the government of Goa also set up an application fee of $32.000. All of those can be a substantial revenue which is very helpful for a quicker gateway from the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The State government of Goa has plans to leverage the gambling industry to a new level. The blueprint for these plans is Macau, which is one of the most popular gambling destinations in the world. The mega-casino project is linked to the new airport project in Mopa. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was an impact on this project. It is believed that the online gambling market will get regulated and it can bring even more benefits to the budget of the government.

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