The proposed offshore casinos near Visakhapatnam may give the first mover advantage in Southern India besides giving the much-needed boost to tourism in Andhra Pradesh. For the record, a couple of casinos from India and abroad are understood to be negotiating with the government since early this year with proposals to open shop in the State.
At present, casinos are present in Goa, Sikkim and Daman and Vizag stands a good chance of being a lone jewel on the east coast of Southern India.
As per sources, a Malaysia-based firm and a couple of casino operators from Goa have shown interest in venturing into AP which has a flashy plan for tourism development along coastline.
The facilities at the venue include different types of gambling, liquor and other associated amusements typically offered at casinos.
Given the potential to lure high profile tourists into the State, casinos are also likely to fill the coffers of the cash strapped AP.
“It could be a right move at the right time as it gives an international character to the city and associated tourist segments. Corporates will be much interested in the business. The potential tourism traffic from Asia, which is otherwise Macau, Las Vegas and Singapore bound, can be attracted to Visakhapatnam,” says Managing Director of a Hyderabad based IT firm 7Seas Technologies, Mr. Maruthi Sanker.
A conservative market estimate of the likely revenue out of the initiative to government is pegged at Rs. 300 crore.
Casinos on the shores will also help the State attract outbound domestic tourists looking for such avenues. A substantial part of higher middle class and high-net worth individuals of the country, who shell out their money abroad, may try out these casinos on the shores of Vizag.
“My friends used flock to Macau earlier, now they are trying out Casinos in Colombo. Proximity matters a lot. Vizag casino will be a super hit,” exclaims K. Kiran Kumar, a real estate builder from Visakhapatnam.
The State, as part of its tourism policy, aims to develop water sports, water related adventure leisure activities such as sailing, wind surfing, scuba diving, water skiing, hovercraft, seaplanes, cruise ships and jetties etc. An investment subsidy to the tune of 20 per cent on basic infrastructure, excluding land, is offered to encourage such businesses.