August 18, 2023
On Friday, August 18, 2023, the state government of Maharashtra took a strong stance against legal gambling within its area by revoking the Maharashtra Casino (Control and Tax) Act of 1976. Although approved by the governor back in 1976, the Act had remained unenforced due to the lack of operational protocols and regulations.
An official of the home department commented on the issue, noting that some casino operators looking to launch in Mumbai, India, had used the rules stipulated in the Act to take legal action. But, the government's recent decision to revoke the Act now locks the door for any more legal arguments, making the government's position on casino games clear.
The official added:
“The government has grappled with the question of permitting casino operations on numerous occasions, often exercising caution to avoid potential backlash.”
At the moment, multiple casino operators in the Indian state have presented their suggestions to the tourism department that are in line with the existing Act. The government's recent dissolution of the Act settles the matter once and for all.
The Act had given operators hope of launching gambling operators in the state. It states that the state government can review gambling license applications before granting or refusing the license. The government can give a written statement if the license application is unsuccessful.
In 2015, the Bombay High Court asked the Maharashtra government to state whether it plans to enforce the law, leading to several inter-departmental meetings. Interestingly, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation backed casino operations, highlighting their possible benefits to tourism and income.
Following the move to abolish the Act, the government stated:
“No casinos in the state, this is the firm stand of Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister, Devendra Fadnavis.”
Fadnavis had initially declined the proposal for legal casinos in the state. Later, the Tourism and Culture Department proposed the creation of a committee to analyze the possibility of allowing casino operations. But that was also unsuccessful after the state government arrived at a definite resolution in February 2023 to forbid casinos in the region.
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