Sikkim to offer casinos license for in-territory gambling

The Sikkim Government has come up with an innovative plan to lure more hospitality players to develop five-star hotels in the state. It will be the first Indian state to offer casinos at five-star hotels license for in-territory gambling.

According to latest reports, Royal Plaza managed by Sarovar Hotels Pvt. Ltd. and a five-star resort built by DLF Hotel Holdings have already received a nod from the government for the Casino license. “We have tentatively given a nod to The Royal Plaza, and it is expected to start operations in six months, whereas DLF Hotel Holdings has just acquired land for the resort. Besides, there are other players who have evinced keen interest in the project, but are yet to acquire the land,” said GP Upadhaya, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Sikkim Tourism.

DLF Hotel Holdings has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Sikkim Government to build a five-star resort, housing the casino, at Panthang near Gangtok. The hotel group has acquired the land, and the property is expected to start operations in 2010. “The property will be spread across 12 acres of land. We are still finalising the room configuration, which will be around 60 to 100,” said an official source from DLF Hotel Holdings.

The Sikkim Government will earn 25 per cent commission on the revenue generated by each casino. The commission will then be used for promoting the state as a tourist destination. Interestingly, there will be no incentives offered to the hotel groups for this project. “Acquiring a casino license is in itself a big revenue generator. Besides, the North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP) 2007 grants all industries exemption from all types of local tax, income tax and excise duties for the first 10 years. Also, the company will get 30 per cent subsidy on the initial capital investment,” offered Upadhaya.

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