Maharashtra: Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis clarifies opposing legalization of casinos in state

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With the start of Monsoon Assembly Session, Maharashtra had also planned to present a bill regarding Maharashtra Casino Control and Tax Reform in order to legalize casinos in the state among 24 Bills and 6 Ordinances. However, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis seems to be opposing the idea of legalizing casinos in the state.

While several operators have sought permission to operate casinos in the state, deputy CM has demanded to completely repeal the law. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s (MNS) General Secretary Manoj Chavan has also supported the idea of legalizing casinos.

As per Sakal’s report, Fadnavis says that there is no need to allow casinos and plague the state with gambling outlets anyone can access. Despite being in favour of online skill-based games, Fadnavis has been constantly arguing against the idea of legalizing casinos in the state under the Maharashtra Casinos (Control and Taxation) Act 1976.

Chavan said that the state can also increase its revenue with the establishment of legal casinos like Goa. Furthermore, it will also stop people from visiting illegal casino establishments and will also help to increase tourist inflow.

38-year-old law still pending for enforcement

The debate on the topic dates back much longer in the past. Technology & Gaming Lawyer Jay Sayta also picked up the issue back in 2015 in support of the act and listing the advantages of implementing the act to the state.

Sayta, in his Public Interest Litigation (PIL), said, “The Casinos Act will help eliminate the financial woes of the government as the government will raise thousands of crores in revenues.”

With this statement, Sayta had advised the Govt to bring the 38-year-old pending act into enforcement. MNS’ Chavan had also quoted similar views regarding the matter to legalize casinos in the state.

With recent changes in tax rates for casinos and current arguments, the bill might finally pass in the assembly. Although people will have to wait for the final decision after the bill is presented.

Along with the enforcement of the Maharashtra Casinos Act, the latest amendment regarding the new GST rate for online gaming, casinos and horse racing will also be discussed in the Assembly.