Controversy over casinos continues in Goa

Laxmikant Parsekar, Goa Chief Minister defended his government’s stand to support offshore and other casinos, saying the state’s economy is dependent on them.

India.-  Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said that Goa’s economy is dependent on casinos to defend  his government’s stand to support offshore and other gambling facilities, although he added that he does not support increasing their number.

“The state’s economy is dependent on casinos. But at the same time it should not be misunderstood that I am supporting to increase the number of casinos in the state,” said Parsekar said in Panaji. “I have taken information about how many Goans are employed on casinos. The casinos create direct and indirect employment opportunities. ”

Parsekar also denied that the government has plans to shift offshore casino vessel (Deltin Caravela), anchored in river Mandovi near Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, on the outskirts of Panaji city. “No one has moved any file or note to me asking to shift the offshore casino,” he affirmed.

However, State Forest Minister Rajendra Arlekar said his department has asked the Captain of Ports Department to shift the offshore casino vessel as it is anchored near a bird sanctuary.

Currently Goa has five offshore vessels and several others on shore casinos. BJP government in its 2012 Goa Legislative Assembly polls manifesto had promised to shift the offshore casinos away from Mandovi. A number of NGOs under the banner of Aam Aurat Aadmi Against Gambling recently held protests against the casinos, alleging that prostitution and other crimes are on the rise in the tourist state due to gambling facilities.