The Congress-led Karnataka government is reportedly considering allowing offshore casinos in its territorial waters to up the tourism revenue. With only 3 states – Goa, Daman and Sikkim having casinos in the current scenario, the Karnataka Government is planning to attract casino and cruise operators to the state. A 2013 report suggests that Goa earns Rs 135 crore every year from casino tourism alone and Karnataka with its vast coastal boundary certainly has the potential to tap into this market.
As per the reports of the Times of India, Karnataka Government is looking at six ports along its coastline to facilitate floating casinos, which include Karwar, Belekeri, Tadri, Malpe, Old and New Mangaluru ports. The tourism department of Karnataka is considering two options for operation cruise casinos. The first one includes a proposal for cruise liners to operate for 3 days and 4 nights from Mangaluru port, head to Karwar touch Malpe Port and end at the Udup port. This option includes both casino and high boat facilities for tourists.
The second option includes the cruise being permanently stationed on sea and tourists being ferried in motor boats. This will include an overnight stay option with the facilities provided according to prevailing government policies and navigation laws.
Karnataka has thus joined the league of Indian states considering casino in their territories since long but have not been able to materialize the plans. Andhra Pradesh is among on such states which had been mulling over a proposal to permit offshore casinos in Vizag. Many other states like Punjab and Haryana have failed to get going on land casinos due to political hindrances in past.
In past 2 years of Congress rule in Karnataka, we have seen rise in the number of regulated poker rooms in Bangalore. Also, it was the congress party in Goa to allow Casinos for the first time. Hence, it is speculated that unlike other states, Karnataka will swiftly progress on legislations involving casino and cruise business.