A 400% hike in the annual license fees has started showing effects leading to the closure of three onshore casinos. The Crown Casino in Hotel Crown and Carnival Casino in Marriott Hotel closed last month. This was followed by Goa’s biggest onshore casino, Casino Strike in Grand Hyatt Hotel also shutting down. The operators are finding it difficult to keep up with the insurgent hike in the license fees. Thus, the casino industry is struggling to survive.

The  Casino Strike Deal

Goan Hotels and Realty Pvt. Ltd, the company which runs Casino Strike in Grand Hyatt Hotel, was barred from operation owing to the inability of paying hiked license fee within deadline and grace period. Therefore, the casino filed an urgent plea in the Bombay High court and Justice MS Sonak heard the matter. The Justice noted that the company had made an application to reduce its area from the existing 1013 square meters to around 300 square meters. This would reduce the license fee liability for financial year the 2018-19 from Rs. 40 crores to around Rs. 20 crores.

The Changes In Making

The company’s aforementioned application is awaiting a reply from the government. The response is expected to arrive in a week’s time.

Concluding the plea, the company has stated that it is ready to pay 10 crores for the time being. Thus, they wish to run the casino, after making the partial payment, till the response for the application arrives.

The court has granted an interim relief to Goan Hotels and Realty Pvt. Ltd. Thus, the court has instructed the government to issue a challan in the name of the company, against the partial payment of 10 crores. The High Court has also permitted to run the casino after it has remitted the payment.

But, if the government’s judgement is in favour of the application, the company is liable to pay the balance amount of the license. The next payment will be due within three weeks of receipt of such communication.

After providing the relief, the court tagged the plea with that of Kanda’s Golden Globe Hotel’s pending writ petition. The writ challenges Government’s decision to hike the license fees, out of the blue.

Concluding the scenario, both Casino Strike and Casino Big Daddy’s petitions are now scheduled to come up for hearing on 6th June 2018.

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