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Picking up from our previous story where Goa Chief Minister (CM) Manohar Parrikar admitted that no appropriate alternate location had yet been finalised for the offshore casinos located within the state, we now learn that Parrikar, in a statement made to the legislative assembly, announced that the offshore casinos in the state will be shifted to a designated gaming zone within a period of four years.
However, the CM also stated that the natives of the state will barred from the casinos from 2019 and only tourists will be allowed to visit gambling and gaming facilities. Addressing the legislative assembly, Parrikar stated, “As a policy, Goans will not be permitted to enter the casino playing areas. Only visiting tourists shall be allowed. A mechanism will be put in place once the gaming commissioner is appointed”.
Furthermore, he added, “The Government shall identify notified designated zones where present offshore casinos can be shifted. That means the government will notify zones… Licences for offshore casinos will be issued provided they grant their willingness within a year’s time”.
He also stated that a Gaming Commissioner will be appointed to regulate casinos and oversee casino activities in the state. Parrikar also said that, “Licences for casino operations being granted in a designated zone can be considered for a tenure of 10 to 15 years taking into account the huge investment required for such projects”.
While Vijai Sardesai, a senior minister in the Goa government and leader of the Goa Forward Party (GFP), an important ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had dismissed the notion of relocating offshore casinos to land last year, BJP has repeatedly assured that it will resolve various issues caused due to offshore casinos.
However, after the leader of opposition of the legislative assembly, senior Congress leader Chandrakant Kavlekar offered support to Parrikar’s statement to move the offshore casinos onshore, it seems that a political consensus regarding the casinos in Goa may finally be reached.