Goa gov’t wants to allow casino vessels in all rivers, opposition says

Goa gov’t wants to allow casino vessels in all rivers, opposition says

The state cabinet’s move to redefine the term “off-shore casino” in the Goa Gambling Act will pave the way to casino vessels operating in all rivers across Goa.

Goa gov’t wants to allow casino vessels in all rivers, opposition saysThat was the claims made by opposition party Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM), which alleged that the current Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government wants to make the state “the gambling, drugs and prostitution capital of the country.”

“The Cabinet decision has to be converted into an amendment to the Goa Gambling Act. But since the elections are [around] the corner, and there may be no more session of the assembly and this is the main reason why the government took the decision hurriedly,” GSM President Anand Shirodkar was quoted by Herald Goa.

In the amendment, an “off-shore casino” may be allowed to operate not just on the Mandovi River, but also on Terekhol, Chapora, Mapusa, Cumbharjua channel, Zuari and Sal. Currently, there are five floating casinos operating on the Mandovie river. The fleet of berth casinos, however, only have until March 31, 2017, to find a new location to call home. There had been offers of relocating to the Zuari river near Chicalim, located about 3km from the Dabolim international airport, but the casino owners have yet to sign on.

“While on one hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi claims to have demonetized currency to eradicate black money from the country, the BJP in Goa has decided to multiply casino business in Goa, which seems to be thriving mostly on black money,” Shirodkar said, according to the news outlet.

If you recall, the Indian government announced several weeks ago that they are scrapping 1,000 and 500 rupee notes as part of their anti-graft and corruption crackdown as well as to flush out tax evaders in the country. The sudden announcement left many sectors stunned, especially the casino vessels moored off the shores of the state of Goa. According to the state media outlets, the limited availability of cash has forced many offshore casinos to shut down their operations temporarily.

Casino management initially allowed payments in the demonetized currency, but that decision was rolled back after the vessels started running short of currency notes. Goa chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar admitted that casinos “are likely to get affected” by the demonetization, but he allayed the fears of casino operators against the demonetized currency.

“All those with black money will be affected. Those with clean money need not worry,” Parsekar said.