Will Karnataka be the Next State to Legalize Gambling?

Seal_of_Karnataka smallKarnataka has been pushing the legalization of gambling for some time now. At this time, there are only three states in India that have legalized gambling. The three states that currently offer regulated gambling are Goa, Sikkim and Daman.

Karnataka would like to benefit from its own gambling industry. The state government would receive revenue from licensing and taxation, along with more indirect income by increasing the number of tourists in the state.

The attempt to legalize gambling in Karnataka would not mean that regular land-based casinos would be built. The likelihood of pushing through a gambling bill for land-based casinos is very unlikely, however, Karnataka is pushing for permission to offer floating, or offshore, casinos.

Although gambling lobbyists have been pushing hard to legalize offshore casinos in Karnataka, there is a large amount of opposition from both religious and political group.

Those who are opposed to gambling in Karnataka are seeing Goa begin to introduce stricter policies for their offshore casinos. On the one hand, the issues in Goa will encourage those who are anti-gambling, and on the other hand, Karnataka can learn from Goa’s experience and introduce better regulations from the start.

The government has already considered two different approaches to the casino industry. One of the options is that the cruise casinos are kept offshore, and those who wish to visit them would be taken there an back on a ferry. The second option that has been suggested is that visitors to the casino could choose a three or four night holiday package that begins at the Mangaluru port, travels through Karwar, and ends up at the Udup port.

Although it appears that the government is looking into the possibilities of casino legalization, Pradeep Singh Kharola, the principal secretary for tourism, has said that at this time, the government is not planning to legalize Karnataka casinos. Should the government choose to address the casino proposal, it is likely to do so when the Invest Karnataka 2016 even takes place in February next year.