Goa casino operators face stiff fee hikes next month

TAGs: Goa, India

goa-casino-fee-hikesCasino operators in the Indian state of Goa have been hit with serious fee hikes that will take effect next week.

On Tuesday, the Nahvind Times reported that Goa’s state government had approved a revised casino fee structure for the financial year 2018-19, which gets underway on April 1. The new fees apply to both land-based gaming venues and the floating casinos on the Mandovi River.

The fee increases are significantly greater than the increases the casinos faced last year at this time, when the casinos magnanimously refused to pass on the extra costs to their customers. But this time around, customers may not be so fortunate.

First off, any current casino operator wishing to renew his or her operating license will have to pay Rs10m (US$154k), up from Rs3m last year. The security deposit for renewing licenses has been increased from Rs1m to Rs2.5m.

The annual recurring fees for land-based operators are based on a sliding scale, although this slide is a steep uphill. For casinos occupying an area under 100 square meters, the fees have gone from Rs40m to Rs100m. At the other end of this scale, casinos above 1k square meters will see their recurring fees hiked from Rs85m to Rs400m ($6.16m).

Floating casino recurring fees are based on capacity, with vessels that can handle less than 200 passengers having their fees jacked from Rs100m to Rs250m. If your vessel can accommodate over 400 passengers, your fees rocket from Rs120m to Rs400m.

Any operator who might be considering selling his casino license will have to find a deep-pocketed buyer, as the cost for transferring land-based casino licenses will triple to Rs300m, while offshore license transfer fees are jumping from Rs200m to Rs500m.

As further evidence that the state really doesn’t want any additional casino operators, new license application fees are rising from Rs200m to Rs500m and the nonrefundable security deposit will cost casino hopefuls an additional Rs500m.

To virtually no one’s surprise, the report suggested that the state government would once again extend the floating casino licenses for another year. The licenses have received countless extensions of this sort, as the government is still working on its plan to shift all floating casinos to land by July 2020. That is, if anyone’s still interested.


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