Goa’s recently elected government has introduced a new annual budget that will see the state’s land-based and floating casinos facing increased fees in 2017.
The latest increase marks the third consecutive year casino fees have been raised, and the fee hike includes both annual recurring and licence transfer fees.
The floating casinos in Goa, India’s smallest state, will be required to pay different sums according to their passenger capacities.
This will entail casino vessels capable of hosting up to 200 guests now having to pay annual fees of Rs 100m ($1.5m), a 1.5 percent rise on the previous year.
Meanwhile vessels hosting between 200-400 passengers will face a Rs110m ($1.7m) annual fee, and larger ships will have to pay Rs 120m ($1.9m).
Additionally all categories will be required to cover a new and doubled licence transfer fee of Rs200m ($3.1m).
Apart from the new fees, Goa’s five offshore casinos were given an additional six month extension to relocate from the Mandavi river to a new permanent location.
This is the third extension in a row for the floating casinos, after the first extension of April 2015 was prolonged with another one-year extension by the previous government which was set to expire this March.
Despite the extensions, Goa’s casinos are still not close to finding a new moorings, while the government previously had four locations shortlisted – Aguada Bay, and the rivers Chapora, Sal, and Zuari – so far no solution has been reached and the issue continues to be a political hot potato.