Panaji: Casinos, a key attraction for tourists visiting Goa, contributed a healthy Rs 135.45 crore to the state government`s coffers in fiscal 2012-13.
According to official figures, casino industry paid Rs 135.45 crore in the form of various taxes, including entertainment, entry, liquor licences and port charges (from casino vessels anchored off the state`s coast).
The revenue was collected by four different departments of the Goa government.
The revenue collection figures from the previous fiscal (2011-12) were not made available.
Casinos charge Rs 500 per customer as entry tax and the entire amount is paid to the government. They contributed Rs 17.96 crore in the form of entry fee, which was lowered from Rs 2,000 per person during the last budget (FY 2011-12).
The government had earned criticism for lowering entry tax, although it hiked licence fee for casino operators. The government charged Rs 6.5 crore per off-shore and Rs 2.5 crore per on-shore casino as licence fee, netting Rs 32.50 crore and Rs 25 crore, respectively for the last fiscal.
The two-decade-old casino industry currently operates 10 on-land and five off-shore casinos. In all, they employ around 5,000 people, industry sources said.
Goa, which charges 15 per cent entertainment tax, has collected Rs 53.29 crore revenue from this levy in 2012-13. In addition, the casino industry paid Rs 2 crore worth of value-added tax (VAT) on food and beverages.
The off-shore casinos paid Rs 1 crore as liquor licence fee and on-shore ones paid Rs 1.2 crore, according to the figures.
The on-shore casinos were first introduced in 1992 by amending The Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act, 1976 to boost tourism in the coastal state.
Industry players recall that initially big hotel groups like The Renaissance, Cidade de Goa and Leela started land casinos operations.
In 1998-99, Government amended the law to bring off- shore gaming which gave birth to `Casino Caravela`, the first such gaming centre on a vessel.
"In 2006-07 the Goa Government cleared a proposal to allow five more off-shore casinos on a first come first served basis," the industry player stated.
This paved the way for business entities like Delta Corp, CP (Casino Pride) Group, Leela and Salgaonkars to enter the off-shore casino market.