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Currency demonetization a tough pill to swallow

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s announcement to scrap the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes will wreak havoc on the performance of Goa’s offshore casinos, local media reports.

The shock decision is said to be part of a crackdown on corruption and illegal cash holdings.

People will be able to exchange their old notes for new ones at banks over the next 50 days, but it will stop being legal tender afterwards.

Those depositing small amounts will be able to do so without trouble, but banks will be asking questions of those who turn up with hundreds of thousands or millions in currency.

Mr Jaitley said the move would flush out tax evaders, adding that all old notes deposited in banks would be subjected to tax laws.

Some casino operators have already stopped accepting 500 and 1,000 notes, while others continue to accept the scrapped currency up to a limit, reports local media.

"Our company seniors have directed us to accept 500 and 1,000 notes for now, but with an upper limit of 5,000. No one can buy chips worth more than that and this is applicable to payments also made by credit cards," said a casino employee.

One particular operating head of an offshore casino said the business had been affected badly, and is constantly running short of currency to reward winners.

"Most are unwilling to accept 500 and 1,000 notes," he said.

There are also concerns that the currency demonetization will affect gambling tax revenues in the state.

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