The Laxmikant Parsekar led Goa government has hiked casino license fees for the second consecutive year. While making his budget speech, Chief Minister Parsekar, who also holds the Finance portfolio made the announcement of the increase in the annual license fees. The fee for every category of onshore casino has been raised by Rs. 50 lakhs per annum, while for offshore casinos the fee has been raised by one crore rupees. Thus, onshore casinos upto 100 square metres in area had to pay Rs. 2 crores as license fee last year, will now have to pay Rs. 2.5 crores. An offshore casino having passenger capacity of 100 persons had to pay Rs. 6 crores as license fee, but will now have to pay Rs. 7 crores (complete table given below).
An application fee of Rs. 20 lakhs for onshore and offshore casinos has been introduced. Similarly, a security deposit of Rs. 20 lakhs for both types of casino during application and Rs. 10 lakhs during renewal has also been introduced. The Goa government hopes to earn Rs. 15 crores of additional revenue from this increase.
The issue of casinos evoked a heated debate in the legislative assembly, with a ruling BJP MLA claiming that casinos generate a lot of revenue and that MLAs get their salaries because of the casinos. The opposition Congress raised the issue of offshore casinos in the assembly and Parsekar responded by saying that the government was committed to relocate offshore casinos from River Mandovi within the next two years but would not abolish casinos altogether, as it would send a bad signal to potential investors.
Extract from the CM’s budget speech
47. Speaker Sir, I propose to revise the application fee, annual recurring fee and security deposit, for land based and off-shore casinos. The details are provided in Annexure – E.
Annexure – E
1. Application Fees:
a) On shore / Land based Casinos: Rs. 20 lakhs irrespective of the number of machines.
b) Off-shore Casinos: Rs. 20 lakhs for machines / tables irrespective of the number of their number or size or capacity of vessel.
On shore / Land based casino
Area & Fees
Upto 100 sq. m. – Rs 2.50 crores
Above 100 sq. m. upto 300 sq. m. – Rs 3.00 crores
Above 300 sq. m. upto 500 sq. m. – Rs 3.50 crores
Above 500 sq. m. – Rs 4.50 crores
Off shore casino
Passenger capacity of vessel & Fees
Above 100 upto 200 – Rs 7.50 crores
Above 200 upto 400 – Rs 8.00 crores
Above 400 – Rs 9.00 crores
Rs 20 lakhs at the time of grant of new license and Rs 10 lakhs at the time of renewal, in the case of both On shore / Land based casino and Off shore casino.