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Close on the heels of the recent hike of casino license renewal fee by the Goa government comes the shocking report of two big casinos – The Crown and The Carnival shutting down their operations in April. While there has been no official statement from management of these casinos yet, both casinos reportedly intimated the government on their inability to pay the hiked fee and their intention to shut shop in April.
According to reliable sources in the Goa government, The Crown and The Carnival submitted written intimations to the government on their intended closure and non-payment of hiked fee. As of now, 11 casinos – of them 6, have paid the hiked fee. As a result, the government has reportedly collected ₹200 crore of additional revenue and an additional ₹100 – ₹150 crore is expected to flow in soon from the remaining 5 casinos.
PokerGuru tried to reach the management of The Crown and The Carnival to confirm the news but they could not be reached.
It may be recalled that as the financial year 2017-18 came to an end, the government of Goa announced a hike in the casino fee. Different fee submissions ranging from the license fee, license renewal fee, application fee and security deposits witnessed a monumental hike of between 2.5 to 4.5 times.
All casino vessels with an accommodation capacity of 200 people are to pay an annual renewal fee of ₹25 Crores – a huge jump from the earlier ₹10 Crores. And, the offshore vessels with a larger capacity of 200-400 passengers have to now pay ₹30 Crores annually as renewal fee. Onshore or land operated casinos have to pay ₹50 Lakhs on being granted a new license and renewal security deposit for them is now ₹25 Lakhs, up from the previous ₹10 Lakhs.
The revised fee structure was in effect from April 1, 2008 following which the casino operators attempted to negotiate with the government for a partial rollback of the fee revision. However, the government stood its ground.
The reported shutdown plans of The Crown and The Carnival has sent a wave of disappointment in the Goan casino circle that recently got a breather from the government with a reported extension of permission to off-shore casinos operating from river Mandovi by one year.