The Enforcement Directorate (ED) took assertive action on 30th October 2023, in a significant development by raiding a few casinos against the alleged money laundering within the casino industry.
It is worth noting that a specialised team of ED officials from Kochi undertook a comprehensive operation and were involved in raids at six casinos in Goa. Well-known establishment, namely the Cadillac Casino, which is a prime attraction, was also a part of the ongoing money laundering investigation.
The above-mentioned operation is reported to have kick-started at 7 PM and went on till the wee hours of Tuesday morning. It was carried out under the framework of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The operation spanned over eight distinct locations as the raids targeted not only the casinos but also two premises which are related to individuals who have been associated with these establishments.
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If reports are to be believed, the raids were conducted on the basis of credible allegations revolving around the fraudulent financial activities which are related to certain depositors. As per the latest news reports, the ED was led on the suspect with illicit black money transactions across numerous Goa casinos that are claimed to be linked with potential connections to multiple politicians as well as a few high-profile individuals that are on the ED’s radar.
According to the local reports, the main focus of such raids was to have a look into the online ventures of casinos as well as their physical operations. The ED officials are also said to have interviewed the casino staff and patrons during the operation.
The last few months have seen quite a few challenges for the Indian online gaming landscape as well as the Indian casino sector. The Central overnment imposed a 28% tax on the initial deposits by making modifications to the CGST Act 2017 and SGST Act 2017. It impacted the online gaming, casinos, and horse racing sectors, with the change coming into effect from 1st October 2023.
In September 2023, a prominent casino and hospitality operator named Delta Corp was served multiple show-cause notices. They were handed retrospective tax payments, which totalled ₹23,206 Crore. All these notices also include a ₹11,140 Crore tax demand from DGGI Hyderabad, alongside a ₹5,682 Crore notice for three of its subsidiaries of Delta Corp. There is also a ₹6,384 Crore tax demand on Deltatech Gaming too.
These latest ED raids have affected the gaming sector and put the casino industry under the spotlight. It remains interesting to see what the future holds for Goa’s casinos after this intensified scrutiny from ED.
Smit is a sports writer at Gutshot Magazine. After completing his Bachelor’s in Mass Media, and a Master’s degree in Sports Management, this sports fanatic uses articles as a tool to express his opinions. Bring up cricket or football and you will find this usually quiet guy speak for hours! He also co-heads the official supporters club of Chelsea FC in Mumbai, wherein he hosts screenings, football meets and other such events.
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