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Goa Pays Heavy Taxes for GamblingPublished December 1, 2009
In a bid to oust underage gamblers from casinos in Goa, India's government is doing more harm than good.
In a nation of close to 1 billion people, India certainly has its challenges. Chief among them is combating poverty and unemployment. While these elements are all pervasive, India's government is tightening the noose on a prospering gambling sector in a bid to prevent underage gambling.
More freedom, less restriction
The goal of combating underage gambling is certainly a noble one, but the steps that the Indian government has taken in the state of Goa have been anything but successful. Casinos contribute immensely to the local populations they serve. This can be seen in increased numbers of employed people in the casinos, hotels, food industry, entertainment and transportation industries that are directly affiliated with gambling tourists.
But the economic prosperity of all these sectors and the people who run them are being placed at risk owing to extortionary prices that casinos are now required to charge their patrons. The entry fee to step into casinos has increased from $4 to $40 dollars. To add insult to injury, the state government has doubled its taxes on all gaming revenues.
The Indian state with big gaming activity
Many casinos in the state of Goa are feeling the pinch of government's new regulation. Sadly there are an increasing number of casinos which are being forced to close their doors to tourists and locals alike. The burden of government's laws is simply too much to bear and it is no longer a viable model for many operators.
Already the ranks of the unemployed are swelling and the freefall is expected to continue as long as these regulations remain in effect. Gambling is illegal in India, but Goa attracts millions of visitors every year and it is their money that helps bring in huge amounts of foreign currency to an otherwise depressed economic region.