Bengaluru, Feb 22, 2020: The Tourism Department is looking at ‘Sin City’ Las Vegas for inspiration to fill its coffers, as it considers opening a “gambling station” to attract international tourists, Deccan Herald.
The gamble, the department hopes, will pay off and help the state retain the tourists, who otherwise escape to Goa or Sri Lanka for trying their hand at their favourite games.
Tourism Minister C T Ravi, who spoke to DH about the project, however, said that gambling will be allowed only for international tourists and after common man’s interest is protected. The minister cited the example of Las Vegas, which is one of the most popular destinations for gambling, as a model which the department wants to replicate.
“We need to learn from cities like Las Vegas to attract and entertain tourists. Even today, international tourists who visit Karnataka fly away to Sri Lanka or Goa just because they allow gambling,” said Ravi.
“Our idea is to promote Las Vegas model of gambling by protecting the interest of common man and allowing restricted entry,” added the Tourism Minister.
The minister said the “gambling station would be a restricted one and it will be set up in such a manner that it only attracts tourist crowd”.
Though the project was still in a conceptual stage, the minister hinted that the centre will have facilities on par with cities best known for gambling.
The minister admitted that it was a difficult task to implement, but said it had the potential to increase revenue.
“Since the government budgets prioritise food, education, sanitation, basic amenities and infrastructure, the Tourism Department has to come up with new ideas that have the potential to increase the revenue,” he said.
The minister also sought to clarify that setting up a gambling station didn’t mean that it will be allowed across the state.
“It will be allowed only at a particular place where the government approves. The department will soon place the proposal before the government. Once it is cleared, the destination to set up the station will be finalised,” he said.
The minister said the department will not invest in the project, which would be investor-driven. The government will just make policy and monitor the operations, he said.