Goa casinos to cop license fee hike starting April

Offshore and onshore casinos in Goa will be required to pay between 2.5 to 4.5 times more in licensing fees starting next month following new rules from the state’s finance department, local media reports.

Shares in India’s largest casino operator, Delta Corp, dropped 16 percent in Mumbai on the news. 

The order take effect on April 1, was a move taken to increase state revenue. According to reports, it is expected to boost annual revenue by approximately Rs 150 crore (US$23 million).

“We are yet to get an official intimation about the hike in various fees for casinos. We will react once we get the details,” said the director Casino Pride Srinivas Nayak.

Offshore casinos with a passenger capacity of over 400 will see its annual license fee increased to Rs 40 crore, up from the existing Rs 12 crore.

For offshore casinos with passenger capacities between 200 and 400, the fee has been increased to Rs 30 crore per year, up from 11 crore, while vessels with less than 200 in passenger capacity will now pay Rs 25 crore, up from Rs 10 crore.

Onshore casinos also saw an increase in annual fees, paying Rs 50 crore per year, up from Rs 20 crore.

Other fees increased in a similar fashion include license application fees, transfer license fee, license renewal fees, and an increase in the non-refundable security deposits which are required when a new license is granted.

The government also announced it has agreed to extend the license of offshore casinos at the River Mandovi, which is set to expire on March 31, for another six months.