Visakhapatnam: Goa casino owners are placing their bets on Vizag. The state government has received applications to set up casinos in the port city.
The take from the casinos could swell the state government coffers. The Goa government, it is learnt, earns about Rs 100 crore annually in the form of taxes from more than 20 casinos.
The state government is yet to give the go-ahead. Rough estimates suggest that gambling enthusiasts from Andhra Pradesh spend at least Rs 70 crore a month in Goa’s casinos. Casinos are allowed only in Sikkim, Goa and the Union Territory of Daman, India. Some reports say that Goa accounts for 95 per cent of the gambling business of the country, and is a big draw for foreign tourists.
“The state government has received some applications from those who run casinos in Goa to set up units here. We are yet to take a call on it,” a Cabinet minister, who is in the know, told Deccan Chronicle.
“No doubt casinos will help develop tourism in Vizag and attract foreigners, but we need to take the sentiments of the locals also into consideration before giving the go ahead,” he said.
Though Vizag is often called “Goa of the East” due to its pristine beaches, the city fails to attract foreign tourists in large numbers.
Earlier too, Panchayat Raj minister Ayyana Parudu, batted for setting up of exclusive liquor zones for foreigners along the Vizag beach on the lines of Goa, where shacks serving liquor and makeshift beer bars are allowed.