Sri Lanka plans to introduce new laws this year to attract investments from casinos and hotel chains abroad. While Sri Lanka already has a thriving local casino industry, the government believes that laws permitting foreign investment in gaming will stabilize the sector and entice international gaming developers.
Casinos generate huge revenues for the government via licensing fees and taxation. In 2006, the size of the international casino business was over USD $70 billion and North American casinos can be credited for having generated about half the total amount. In 2007, Macao in China recorded about USD $10 billion in revenues through casino games. Additionally, Internet casinos, which have proliferated recently, is said to generate more than USD $15 billion.
Casinos in Pennsylvania have generated enormous revenues in 2011. One of the reputed casinos brought in more than USD $32 billion. In the state, revenues increased nearly 14% and reached USD $199 million, and generated over USD $108.3 million in the form of tax! Macau casino revenue hit USD $33.5 billion this year. Las Vegas brought in USD $482.7 millions in January 2011.
Casino gaming also has had a great impact on the tourism industry. In fact, tourism in Las Vegas, which saw a total of 34,450,600 visitors in 2010 and over 37 million in 2011, is a frequented tourist destination owning to the Strip, on which its casinos are located. The tourism industry in Macao (China), Monte Carlo (France), Sun City (South Africa) owes massively to casino gaming.
Singapore which saw casinos come up two years ago, after an intensive debate, is set to overtake Las Vegas in gaming revenues. Its growth in 2010 of 15 % was attributed largely to its two huge multi-million dollar casinos. Both casinos cum hotel developments have become must visit places for tourists arriving in Singapore.
Some nations have encouraged the growth of casinos to attract international tourists. For instance, Gold Coast casinos in Australia have successfully attracted South East Asian players. Most nations across the globe, except Asia, have softened their attitude towards casino gaming. Not only this, they have used casinos to address several economic issues, including the generation of revenues, enhancement of foreign exchange and creation of jobs. Some countries have even managed to combat illegal gambling functions by legalizing casino gaming.
So, why is live gambling outlawed in India? Indian tourists frequent Lanka and Nepal to enjoy gaming activities. By introducing a licensing policy in various states, like Goa and Sikkim, a tremendous amount of black money deals and criminal activities can also be curbed. Why can’t we take inspiration from the UK’s Gambling Act of 2005? After all, it lays down a regulatory framework for all types of gambling, including the use of mobile phones, televisions and the Internet. A provision for the gaming industry can solve a lot of our economic and social problems.
Enough said about economies of casinos. Benefits of bringing over ground, an activity which, because it is illegal, remains in hands of mafia, are obvious. The benefits of having Indians staying in India to gamble, instead of going to Nepal and other countries, are obvious. However, the real benefit is in recognition of human freedom – adults should be free – free to do as they wish, if they are not harming anybody other than themselves. Let adults have a choice to gamble, if they wish.