Goa’s Casino Policy to be ready soon: CM

A new policy of the Goa government will prohibit local people from visiting offshore casinos which would be required to shift to land, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar today told the Legislative Assembly.

The Casino Policy will be ready before the end of this month, he said, adding that a `Gaming Commissioner’ to oversee its implementation would be appointed by December.

“The Casino Policy would be ready this month and the government will identify and notify the zones where the offshore casinos (currently operating from vessels anchored in the river Mandovi) can be shifted,” Parrikar said.

The offshore casinos will get new licenses provided they undertake to shift to the designated zones, he said.

The offshore casinos will have to furnish a written undertaking to this effect within a year, and they will get a maximum of four years to shift, Parrikar said.

The new license would be valid for 10-15 years in view of the “huge investment required for such projects”, the chief minister said.

Goans will not be allowed to enter these offshore casinos once they are shifted to land, and they would be open only for tourists, he said.

“A mechanism (to keep locals out) would be put in place once the gaming commissioner is appointed,” he said.

Locals will still be able to go to onhsore casinos, most of which operate from five-star hotels.

Political leaders across the parties have been demanding that offshore casinos be removed from the Mandovi river because of their `harmful’ impact on local culture.