It was only yesterday that the Karnataka government proposed before the Tourism Department to open casinos in the state to boost the revenue and retain tourists who usually escape to Goa or Sri Lanka. The tourism minister CT Ravi reversed his statement today and insisted that the government have no plans on introducing casinos.
Taking a U-turn on his comment made a couple of days back, Ravi tweeted that during his interaction with FKCCI he mentioned that countries have promoted the tourism industry through casinos. “Isn’t it a fact that lakhs of Indians go abroad to play in casinos? Can anyone stop them? At the moment, there is no proposal before our government to set up casinos here.”
As per the tourism department, there would have been 6 casinos in the capital city of Bengaluru, 3 each in Mangaluru and Belagavi and 1 casino in Mysuru, Davanagere, and Hubballi. “We need to learn from cities like Las Vegas to attract and entertain tourists. Even today, international tourists who visit Karnataka fly away to Sri Lanka or Goa just because they allow gambling,” is what Ravi said.
The department officials added that a special law would be required if casinos were to be introduced, “When we speak about gambling, the first thing that comes to mind is the Bangalore Turf Club. But the turf club is governed by laws pertaining to horse racing. Similarly, in Goa, casinos are off-shore and along with coastline. We need to look at existing laws and also bring in a special law if Karnataka is to allow casinos.”
Ravi further told that a lot of enthusiasts in the country visit casinos in Singapore and Sri Lanka and a tremendous amount of Indian money is flowing to these regions and India is losing out on foreign exchange revenues. He also informed that more job opportunities must be created “but I have no plans to open casinos in Karnataka.” He explained that the media highlighted only the casino aspect and the department has not taken any decision regarding the matter. One of the ministers in Bidar, Siddaramaiah said that the BJP is supporting gambling activities if the state allows casinos and further said that the idea is “foolish”.
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