Goa onshore casinos can be restricted near coast

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The Judge of the Bombay High Court at Goa postponed the matter to November 15.

Goa Chief Minister said that the ruling BJP was ideologically opposed to casinos, but the government was bound by law to allow these entities.

India.- Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said that although ruling BJP is ideologically opposed to casinos, his government has to follow the law in granting permission to these entities. Acknowledging that he has legal constraints as head of government, the Chief Minister told the Legislative Assembly that law can be amended to restrict the onshore gambling dens within two miles from coast.

“The Assembly has power to amend the legislation governing casinos. If people feel that this activity should be banned, then we can restrict the casino within two km from coast,” Parsekar said. The Goa Chief Minister talked about the cut motions moved by Opposition for Demands for Grants on Home department, and he clarified that his government has no policy to promote casinos: “The casinos do not fit in the investment promotion policy of the state government, therefore they will not encourage the casinos.”

To clarify things, Parsekar said that as per the law, if there is new application fulfilling all formalities then they will have to grant the casinos the licenses. “We can avoid giving licenses to offshore casinos by showing that we have no place to anchor vessels, but if there is application by a five-star hotel to have an onshore casino then we cannot avoid. The law of the land is binding on me,” he added.

BJP is ideologically opposed to casinos. To impose the control, they increased the fees and made provision to have a gaming commissioner. They have specified duties and functions, and the gaming commissioner will be able to check and control the casinos. “Through him, gaming activity would be regulated and he will have powers to act against the violators. He can even close or seal the casino.” Parsekar also commented that when state government was in financial crisis, the revenue earned from casinos helped them.