State officials from the Indian State of Karnataka have been flirting with the idea of legalizing casino gambling in the state for some time now. There are no functioning casinos in Karnataka. Therefore gamblers from the state have to go to the neighboring state of Goa, or to Sri Lanka, Singapore of even further.

However, after an incidence last week, it is evident casinos are not welcome in the state, despite what may have been previously said publicly by some state officials. That is, some government officials in a statement didn’t show any negativity towards this type of gambling.

In fact, according to news by gaming website, Karnataka Tourism Minister, C.T. Ravi last week stirred a conversation around the issue. This was after he went public in support of legalizing casino gambling in the state.

In his press statement, he proposed that 15 gaming venues be opened in the state, six in Bengaluru, the capital and three each in Mangaluru and Belagavi. The rest would be distributed evenly in the remaining cities.

In his statement, Ravi said that the State of Karnataka should learn from cities that have benefited from gambling such as Las Vegas. The casinos would act as major tourist attraction sites in the state which will act as a major income boost for the state.

Besides, local gamblers who go to neighboring states in search of gambling services, will not divert their income to the state. It will also create employment for the local community, solving yet another biting issue of unemployment. Private investors would be highly encouraged to apply for licenses. In addition, Ravi noted that the casinos would have restricted entry policy, which would only allow in the tourist crowd.

However, his proposal was not well received by public, media, opposition parties and even members from his government. He received a lot of backlash and that may have influenced his change of heart. By Saturday, Ravi was preaching a different gospel all together, something that in fact, sounded completely contrary to what was initially communicated.

To be precise, he said that he had only given his opinion after observing how other countries promoted tourism. And in trying to justify his new stand, he added that he did not have any plans of opening casinos in the state and that, this has always been his position. Either way, the government has not yet held exhaustive discussions on the issue. Therefore, it remains just that, an idea.

J.C Madhuswamy, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, took to the press on Monday to further condemn Ravi’s prior statement. He said that whatever Ravi had said was not the government’s statement. Ravi had acted on his own intuition and the state cannot be held responsible for his words.

In India, very few states have legalized casino gambling. These are the states of Goa, Sikkim, Daman and Diu. In fact, State of Diu is yet to open a functioning casino within its territory.

Basheera Manaar is a freelance writer covering news related to Land Based Casinos in United States. When she is not informing you about the gambling world, you will find her busy interacting with nature, people and animals. She recently graduate from Nairobi University with a degree in Journalism.
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