Goan government admits stakes too high

Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar has gone on record to say that his government would not be able to remove casinos from the state, acknowledging the state’s dependency on casinos for employment and revenue.

Parsekar’s statement comes after four years of loud proclamations to remove casinos from the state.

Officials estimate that a single casino annually contributes Rs 35-40 crore (US$5.2 million – $6 million) to the government in entry fees, direct and indirect taxes.

“After the closing of the mining sector in Goa in 2012, and a significant drop in the arrival of foreign tourists, casinos are major contributors to the state’s revenue,” said a state finance department official.

The hike in entry fee for casinos in the 2016-17 budget was also seen as an acknowledgement by the BJP government of the importance of casinos for the state economy.

Currently, there are seven functional onshore casinos as well as four offshore casinos in Goa. Parsekar said an abrupt closure would send a wrong signal to investors and hurt the economy.