A former chief minister of the Indian state of Goa wants to put the fate of the casinos in the hands of popular opinion.
Luizinho Faleiro, president of Goa Pradesh Congress Committee, called for an opinion poll to review the state government’s decision to allow casinos in the small state, the Times of India reported. He claimed “most political parties” in Goa are a party—directly and indirectly—to the casino business, hence the need for a review.
“We want the people of Goa to decide,” the former Goa chief minister said, according to the news outlet. “Just because the state gets INR200 crore (USD2.99 billion), you want to make Goa the vice capital of India, the sin city of India?”
Feedback on the casino issue can be sent to the party via Facebook, Whatsapp or email, he said.
Faleiro also sought to ban advertisements promoting casinos in the state, claiming the ads might influence “young minds.”
“Just like there is a ban on advertising cigarette and alcohol, there should be a ban on advertisements promoting casinos. The state government should impose the ban,” he said.
Goa is one of the three states—Sikkim and Daman were the other two states—that allow live casinos to operate within its borders. The coastal state currently plays host to 11 land-based gaming venues and five floating casinos.
In August, the state government hiked—for the third year in a row—the licenses fees for land-based casinos. Casinos occupying up to 100 square meters are now required to pay over USD500,000 every year, while those occupying between 500 to 700 square meters must pay close to USD 1 million in license fees.
The state’s Home Department also added two new categories for land casinos: those with an area between 750 square meters and 1,000 square meters are required to pay USD1.196 million, while those larger than 1,000 square meters will have to pay USD1.271 million each year.
Current Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said increasing the casino fees has caused a drop of onshore casinos operating in the state “from a double digit figure to a single digit figure.”