The state government of Karnataka are considering the possibility of passing new laws that would make it legal for floating casinos to operate within the state. The live casino gambling industry is currently banned in Karnataka but the state government is looking for new ways to generate revenue and the idea of launching a completely new industry in the state is an idea that is being seriously debated.
Only three Indian states have legalized gambling so far and Karnataka wants to take advantage of a large untapped market as the city of Bengaluru is considered to be India’s biggest information technology hub and provides employment opportunities to thousands of employees who also come from out of state and settle in Bengaluru due to their jobs.
The government believes that legalizing floating casinos will not only generate revenue from the casino industry but will also boost tourism numbers as the concept is new and is sure to attract a throng of Indians. The state of Goa has the biggest gambling industry in the country and generated around 135 crore rupees in 2013 from the ten casinos that operate within the state.
Should the government decided to change its gambling laws, Karnataka will have a smaller number of casinos and depending on the success of the industry, more gambling licenses could be issued. The government plans to run these floating casinos along six ports namely the old and new Mangaluru ports, Malpe, Tadri, Karwar and Belekeri. The government has no plans to legalize land based casinos as of now as there is bound to be strong opposition from political and religious parties.
The government believes that the concept of a floating casino or cruiseliners that provide gambling services have a much better chance of being approved. Option one could be a cruise that runs for 4 days and 3 nights starting from the Mangaluru port and finishing at Udupi port. The second option could be a floating casino that is stationed on the sea and tourists get ferried to and from the stationed floating casino. Those tourists who wish to gamble throughout the night or spend the night at suite on the ship will be eligible to do so based on the new law.
While the principal secretary for tourism Pradeep Singh Kharola made it clear that the casino option is not on the table of his government as of now, there have been rumours that the government will discuss its casino cruise policy during the Invest Karnataka 2016 conference that is expected to take place in February 2016.