To curb corruption and tax evasions in Goa, chief minister Manohar Parrikar has announced that only tourists will get entries in the offshore casinos from January 2019. The reason behind this strict move is that the state government believes that allowing locals in the casinos will only destroy the social and cultural atmosphere in Goa.
Before coming into power BJP backed CM Manohar Parrikar, promised to shut down all offshore casinos but it brings in so much revenue that shutting them off will not be a very good decision. In the legislative assembly, he said, “A policy will be implemented that would prohibit the local people of Goa from entering the casinos. A gaming commissioner is also being elected to ensure that these rules are regulations are in effect sooner.”
There was a lot of pressure on the ruling government from the opposition parties and civil society organizations as well to limit the casinos as they believe that allowing citizens of Goa to gamble will only destroy the social economic values they possess.
Adding to the woes of the casino owners, the state government also announced that all the offshore casinos will be moved to a few allotted places and no casinos will be allowed outside those locations. Currently, most offshore casinos are floating in Mandovi River in the state’s capital Panaji and they will also have to move into the designated areas. Speaking of which, the government elected official Parrikar said, “The state government is yet to pinpoint the locations where these off shore casinos will be moved but once done, a new license will be issued to all those casino owners who would move into those locations within a year of announcement. A new set of regulations will also be incorporated, in those areas for licensing and everything else.”
However, the casino owners have expressed their grievances over this decision as the state government already charged them a 100% hike in the annual recurring fees earlier. One of the casino owners on the basis of anonymity said, “Earlier government struck off the previous annual recurring fees and laid down a new one which is twice of the earlier recurring fees and now they want us to move into specialized locations which will only reduce our business by more than 50%. This is a hard decision shown by the government by limiting our local visitors. The six floating casinos that are working in Mandovi River earn revenue of INR 120 crore in a year with a maximum footfall of 400 during the weekends in each vessel which would also likely to reduce if the state implements the new regulations.”