Andhra Pradesh has reportedly been exploring the possibility of opening and operating floating casinos as it suffers shortage of funds.
It is not a surprising news that COVID-19 has hit the economy of all nations and states alike and there is dearth of revenue across all fronts. Additionally, Centre has failed the states in delivering their shares in GST revenue.
In order to combat this situation, Andhra Pradesh government has been exploring the feasibility of floating casinos along its coastline that faces Bay of Bengal.
Anonymous sources say that government has been considering this option since quite some time now.
This move seems little surprising considering the fact that, Andhra Pradesh became the first state in India to have exclusively banned online gambling by passing a legislation.
Gambling in physical gaming parlours or operation of gambling houses is anyway prohibited under Public Gambling Act but AP government specifically addressed the grey area of online gambling by passing a legislation.
Under the law, the AP government has prescribed penal provisions for not only operators of gambling houses, websites, and applications but also for individuals who would indulge in gambling activities.
The only states in India that have legalized gambling within their borders are those of Goa and Sikkim and only 13 states in India run legal lotteries.
Goa itself has cruise ship casinos apart from permitted and licensed land based casinos.
As of now, floating casinos in Goa are un-operational due to COVID-19 lockdown and the state government has been extending their terms to stay on their spots on Mandovi River till March 2021.
The casinos, whose license have expired are seeking renewal but it is unclear as to when would the casinos resume the operations.
It remains to be seen whether Andhra Pradesh utilizes its 975 km long coastline to promote tourism and generate revenue on the lines of Goa.