While gambling is illegal throughout most of India, there are some places where it is legal and those casinos that are legally operated need to pay their licensing fees. There are a number of offshore casinos off the coast of Goa, including the Mint Cruise Casino, owned by the former Haryana minister, Gopal Goyal Kanda. The cruise casino has not paid licensing fees for two years now, and is in debt for Rs 11.5 crore.
It seems that a subsidiary of Kanda’s MDLR group, the Golden Globe Hotels Pvt Ltd, the company that owns the offshore casino, has not paid the license fee for the past two financial years. Two years ago, the license fee was Rs 5 crore, and for the last fiscal year, the annual fee had gone up to Rs 6.5 crore.
A source said: “The payment of Rs 5 crore for last year is still pending along with the payment of this year’s fee of Rs 6.5 crore.”
On the condition of remaining anonymous, one of the officials at Golden Globe Hotels Pvt Ltd, did admit that the company had not paid the license fees for the past two fiscal years. He had noted that the company was trying to sell the offshore gambling vessel. In August, it was thought that a buyer had been found for the casino, but the deal did not go through.
One wonders why a license was granted for another year after fees had not been paid the year before. Chief Secretary B Vijayan said that the general policy is that licenses will not be renewed if there are arrears in payments. He said that sometimes the security deposit would be adjusted accordingly, and that the security deposit is worth Rs 10 lakh.
There are only six casinos that have been granted licenses by the government in Goa, and one of them is essentially defunct.