UPDATE: The recent post by Newsmeter.in mentions that the Andhra Pradesh government has dismissed reports about exploring the option of floating casinos off Visakhapatnam in order to generate revenue.
Floating casinos are a major hit in India. As only three states now allow legal gambling, including Gao, Daman and Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh could be the latest state to join the bandwagon. The Andhra Pradesh government is exploring the feasibility of floating casinos off the Visakhapatnam coast.
The state has reached out to the Centre and are looking to promote tourism through these floating casinos. As Andhra Pradesh has a vast coastline of around 975 km along the Bay of Bengal and India’s territorial waters extend up to 12 nautical miles from the coast, where the floating casinos may operate. This is done mainly to generate resources due to the decline in revenue in the recent past. “The state has reached out to the Centre for these floating casinos off the Visakhapatnam coast. The state lacks resources and hence we are planning to come up with this initiative.” said a government official.
Last year, in the month of July, the Andhra Pradesh government released a white paper accusing the previous state government of misgovernance, financial mismanagement, and neglect of investment in human and physical capital. The revenue surplus, which was nearly 1% of gross state domestic product in 2006-07, declined to 0.24% in subsequent years.
There are only limited avenues for states to raise taxes after the introduction of GST in 2017. The Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy government is looking at options beyond raising taxes on fuels, liquor and tobacco to offset revenue shortfalls because of the coronavirus lockdown. The state has already raised alcohol prices by 75% during the lockdown. Tax collections of states took a hit during the prolonged lockdown, and the Centre’s GST revenues, too, collapsed, resulting in a sorry state for them. However, concerns regarding economic recovery remain as India’s covid-19 death toll has crossed the 100,000 mark and the number of infections has surged past 6.5 million.
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