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It seems the casinos remain an eyesore for the government in Goa. Ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) returned to power by defeating Digambar Kamat-led Indian National Congress (INC) in 2012, they have been very vocal on its ‘anti-casino’ sentiment with Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar declaring that casinos are a nuisance.
The recently re-appointed Goa CM stated “I sincerely believe that gambling is not good. If we can we should remove it from the state. It is human nature to gamble that is why we cannot eradicate it completely, but definitely we cannot encourage it,”
“That is why we had decided on a policy to ban Goans from going to casinos. Lot has been done about it and in the days to come there will be complete ban on locals going to casinos,” Parrikar added.
Reports indicate that though the government is not entirely keen to remove casinos largely due to the legal complications like violation of license agreements with previous governments and the revenue potential from casino’s as a major attraction for tourists, stringent regulations like banning entry to Goan residents and those below 21 years of age are likely to be enforced.
Parrikar also said that the state government will relocate the off-shore casino vessels from river Mandovi to another location. Point to note here is that there was an interim relief for the casinos situated in Mandovi river which were bound to move out on March 31 but the new government extended the deadline to another six months, just four days prior to the deadline date.
It may be recalled that before the 2012 election polls, Parrikar had committed to remove the casinos from River Mandovi but after coming to power he took his famous U-TURN. In March 2012, we had reported about the state government’s proposal to ban the locals from entering on-shore and off-shore gaming zones.
In January 2014, Mr. Parrikar took another major decision and announced the incorporation of Goa Gaming Act; the most important clause included was the entry ban for the locals domiciled in Goa.
In 2015, the government began the process of formulating new casino policies and rules, with an independent Gaming Commissioner assigned to ensure these rules were implemented successfully.
In February 2016, PokerGuru had reported the latest update about BJP led government’s law department to have vetted the draft rules banning those under the age of 21 and all Goans from entering casinos.
Goa currently houses six casino vessels (off-shore) and about a dozen onshore casinos that are located in five star resorts contributing about INR 200 crore a year to the state’s revenue.
The CM also raised the big issue of garbage problem in the state, for which he proposed some plans dealing with garbage disposal and treatment plans. “In last two-and-a-half years, we have seen garbage problem which has emerged in a big way. That is why I have given thrust to garbage disposal and treatment in my recent budget. The process has already started. We will start working from July on it,” stated Parrikar.
Whether things pan out for the greater good or not, PokerGuru will keep providing all the latest news as it unfolds.