The state government of Goa has reportedly taken a leaf out of Macau’s playbook and redrafted some of its casino laws, which it now wants the advocate general to examine.
Goa officials are seeking the legal opinion of Advocate General Saresh Lotlikar on the draft gaming rules before they are “brought into force,” the Times of India reported.
If approved, the rules will ban Goa residents from entering casinos in the state “except for employment.”
Reports emerged late last year that the state home department recalled the draft gaming rules file from the law department to be redrafted based on the casino rules used in Macau. The file, according to several news outlets, were recalled after the home department discovered that several terms in the Goa Public Gambling (Amendment) Act, 1976, were not defined, including terms such as area, casino, electronic gaming, live gaming, offshore, offshore casino, onshore casino and passenger capacity.
The decision to redraft the new rules along the lines of Macau casino rules was because the government wanted “to monitor onshore and offshore casino operations in the state,” a senior home department officer told the Times of India in December.
“We have redrafted rules based on Macau casino rules to specify how to maintain the record of customers visiting the casinos, what should be the quality of CCTV cameras, how many days CCTV footage should be stored, among other things,” the officer said, according to the report.
The gaming commission file has since been sent to the advocate general, and according to a senior official, they “are waiting for his opinion before the rules are notified.”
The redrafted rules also gives the state government the power to appoint a gaming commissioner, who could either be a government officer or a private individual. According to the home department, if a private person is appointed then he should be provided necessary infrastructure including staff or they could appoint the collector, excise commissioner or the commercial tax commissioner as the gaming commissioner.
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. However, members of the Indian Congress and Indian political parties have been threatening to ban casinos in Goa, whose operators they accused of cheating the state government of INR45,000 crore (USD6.62 billion) in tax revenues.