Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday assured the House that no more permissions for casinos -– on land and off shore -– would be granted in the state.
Parrikar also told the state legislative assembly that the legislation which was enacted in the year 2012 banning entry of Goans on off shore casinos would be implemented with certain changes in the next three months. In yet another announcement, Parrikar also said that the number of off shore casinos in Mandovi river would be capped to existing five vessels, which would be shifted to land in next three years.
The chief minister was responding to various issues related to casinos raised by opposition benches during demands for grants for Home portfolio on the floor of the House. Parrikar pointed out that during his tenure in the year 2012, he had passed a legislation which allowed only tourists to visit the off shore casinos. “The legislation never came into force after that,” he said.
Parrikar said that in the existing act, the state government has power to cap the number of casinos in a particular area. “We will use these powers capping the number of off shore casinos in Mandovi river to only five which are existing. The sixth casino will not be allowed,” he said. “The sixth off shore casino can go somewhere else and can operate only if people of the area don’t have a problem,” he said.
Parrikar also assured the House that the amendment to the Prevention of Gambling Act would be made during next assembly session which will ensure that all the casinos in river Mandovi cease to exist after three years. “We will delete the clause that allows casino on vessel. The off shore casinos will be given an option to move to land in the special entertainment zone where Goans would be banned from entering,” he said.
“If off shore casino operator does not move to the special entertainment zone within three years, he will not be able to operate in the river,” Parrikar said. Consultancy firm, KPMG has been designated to identify the entertainment zone, he added. Parrikar also assured to appoint Gaming Commissioner who will be a nodal officer for the casino activities in the state.