Will Maharashtra legalise casinos on land? The answer is expected by the end of March 2016, with the home department examining the possibility of notifying the pending Maharashtra Casinos (Control & Tax) Act, 1976.Government sources claim a meeting of all stakeholders, like revenue, tourism and law departments, has been called by the home department. On October 9, 2015, the Bombay High Court (HC) had directed the state government to decide in six months the implementation of the four-decade-old law, which makes it legal to run casinos in the state.However, Vijay Satbir Singh, principal secretary (home), said it would be too early to comment on the issue. “We have received the court order to look into the matter and that is what we are doing,” he told dna.Sources said that chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has also asked the home department to look into the matter and give a decision at the earliest. It is believed that the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) is in favour of casinos and has already given its consent.The corporation’s view is that casinos will boost tourism in the state and bring in huge monetary gains. “A committee, headed by R M Lodha, has also recommended that casinos should be allowed at the earliest. The Casino Act has lots of safeguards in terms of preventing under-aged children. If allowed, it will contribute thousands of crores to the state revenue,” said Jay Sayta, a law student who had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), seeking direction to the government to implement the Maharashtra Casinos (Control and Tax) Act, 1976, passed by the Assembly and published in the government gazette in July 1976.His PIL said that government has till date not issued a notification implementing the Act. The court, while disposing off the PIL, said it was the executive’s decision when and whether to implement the Act, but asked the government to take a decision within a reasonable time.Sayta claims that under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, it came to light that the then governor has given assent to the legislation on July 22, 1976. In December last, he wrote to Fadnavis, requesting the latter to notify the Act, but there was no response. The Act provides for licensing of casinos, permitting certain types of games, taxation of money paid or agreed to be paid by the participants by way of stakes or bets, etc. Goa and Sikkim are the only states in India which allow casinos now.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

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Maharashtra: Home department decision on casinos on land by March