India’s Cruise Association Wants Casinos Onboard Liners

India’s Cruise Association is determined to obtain a license for running casinos onboard of its flagship liners. Amid more vociferous calls to action, the INCLA seems to be winning support.

INCLA Wants to Make a Splash with Onboard Casinos

The India Cruise Lines Association (INCLA) is definitely not a body weighed down by tradition and the ages. Newly-fangled and ready to fight, the lobbyist group has only one purpose in mind – to see casinos on Indian cruises become a reality.

INCLA is not advertising on the wrong note either. The organization is insisting that the adoption of casinos would only benefit India’s burgeoning cruise industry and put it on the international scene against such competitors as Costa Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and others. These same companies, led by Carnival Cruise at the helm, are updating their own casino offers.

As a direct result, the group is urging government to examine the existing entertainment and gambling laws for cruise ships and work on a legal framework that will be far more accommodating to the industry at large. INCLA is also hoping to monetize its offer and bring foreign direct investment from established casino brands, which wouldn’t miss a chance to establish the inaugural casino properties on India’s largest cruise liners.

According to Jurgen Bailom, INCLA wants to bring down the goods and service tax (GTS) rates, which will would allow the cruise liners to start turning profit as soon as casinos are introduced. But far from any personal gain, it would benefit the industry as a whole, as investors would be tempted to join. Bailom estimates that reforming the laws would allow casinos to be regulated and prop up the cruise industry within India’s territorial waters and beyond.

The organization has not been twiddling its thumbs either, with representatives addressing the Union Minister for Shipping, Road Transport, Highways, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Nitin Gadkari during the Global Cruise Conclave which took place on August 30.

The group approached Gadkari represented by one of its main backers, Essel Group Chairman Subhash Chandra in the hopes of broaching the topic and establishing a dialogue towards future meaningful changes in legislation.

Chandra remains determined to introduce casinos into the Indian’s mainstream and reports have emerged that Essel is working with an international brand already. However, Gadkari may prove a bit too intransigent for any casino pioneer’s taste, with the former stating back in 2016 that he would never sanction the opening of casinos, citing “popular sentiment on the issue.”

Essel on the other hand, remains involved in India’s lotteries and has so far unsuccessfully applied to run other gambling operations in the country. Poker has been one of the main keys of interests when it comes to game that require people to stake money.

However, the game continues to be shunned by the Supreme Court and local states. The anti-gambling sentiment in India is also quite pronounced. The country has even started discussing sports betting, although, much like in the United States, legislation will vary from one state to the next.

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