Casino: AP needs to amend Gambling Act

State fears opposition from civil society groups to gambling.

Vijayawada: It is more than one-and-a-half years and the proposals to set up casinos in Bhavani island haven’t been looked into by the state government. The state government received six such proposals to set up clubs in Bhavani island. It is learnt that the government is considering amending the law, before taking a call on those proposals.

However, people working closely with the tourism projects of AP have a different say on these proposals. “The state government is not interested in disturbing the atmosphere of integrated development of tourism in the state,” a key man associated with the state Government in the advisory role said and added that, in principle, the government is against initiating such casino proposals, not only in Bhavani island, but also in Kakinada and Visakhapatnam.

At present, casinos are in operation in Goa, Sikkim and Daman, he said and added that there are certain rules to be followed to set up casinos. “Even in Goa also, the cruise will be placed in international waters and tourists will be taken over there by luxury boats, for one night stay, to have casino, amusement , gambling, entertainment venues and eateries,” he said and added that the same laws will not be applicable to rivers, and it needs Centre’s intervention to amend the law.

He also said that, in principle, the state government also doesn’t want to get into the row, as allowing casinos in Bhavani island or any other water resort across the state, would invite a fresh trouble form the civil society groups.

In fact, one NRI has approached the state government three years ago, stating that he wants to replicate Sentosa amusement park of Singapore, in Bhavani island. Bhavani island has number of islands, extended in an area of 130 acres.

“Even in case, the state government wishes to encourage the casino atmosphere in Bhavani island, as part of promoting tourism, the state would have to amend the Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act-1974,” High Court advocate Chandu Sreenivasa Rao said and added that the amendment Act should need provisions similar to those inserted in Goa, Daman, and Diu Public Gambling Act-1976. Apart from that, other mandatory approvals from the Centre and defence are also essential, he added.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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