Andhra Pradesh Tourism Minister M Srinivasa Rao on Tuesday said that no plans exist to launch floating casinos off the coast of Visakhapatnam. The senior YSRCP leader was dismissing reports in a section of the media that the state government was discussing such a proposal with the Union government.
Livemint reported that the plans to set up floating casinos were under consideration to make up for revenue losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic and delay of receiving pending dues from the Union government. The report said that the state government had entered into talks with the Union government to grant permission for a floating casino, on the same lines as Goa.
The report said that the state government has entered into talks with the union government for permission for a floating casino along the lines of Goa. At present, Goa and Sikkim allow casinos while several states allow the sale of lottery tickets as a form of revenue.
Dismissing the report, the Andhra Pradesh Minister said that the YSRCP government was committed to the welfare of society and that tourism in the form of casinos will not be encouraged.
The report had come amidst a meeting between Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over several issues related to the state. This is the first such face-to-face meeting between the two leaders since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in India.
The tourism sector in Andhra Pradesh was one of the most severely impacted sectors since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country in March this year. The Tourism Department is estimated to have suffered a revenue loss of Rs 2,000 crore so far and expects the losses to mount to Rs 3,500 crore by December. The sector is also staring at severe job losses, which are expected to increase.