Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has announced that locals of the state will not be allowed inside the casinos in Goa, according to the promise made back by former Chief Minister late Manohar Parikar. Sawant further added that the Commissioner of Goods and Services Tax, who is acting as the gaming commissioner, will implement the ban from February 1.
Several people and various political parties had been campaigning for a blanket ban on the casinos operating across North and South Goa. They are of the opinion that such establishments are against the local culture and have been the reason behind many families suffering financial devastation.
As a matter of fact, the coastal state, which is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world, attracts tourists from nook and cranny of the country as well as many European nations. The state has as many as six offshore and twice the number of onshore casinos operating with a fine footing of local and foreign customers.
Sending a written reply to a question on the same matter, Sawant replied that the government is taking swift decisions to ban the locals in the casino and the new rule will come into effect on February 1.
"I had assured on the floor of the House during the last Assembly session (August 2019) that Goans would be banned from entering casinos. We are going to implement the assurance from February 1," the chief minister said, reported Pune Mirror.
However, Sawant hasn't given any clarification regarding how the rule will be enforced but stated that the framework will be released in due course of time.
"We are going step by step," Sawant said.
With questions emerging about the status of shifting the off-shore casinos away from the Mandovi river near Panaji, Sawant clarified that the home department has allowed the offshore casinos to operate in the river till March 31, 2021 or till an alternate site is notified by the Government, whichever is earlier. That, however, is subject to the fact that the license is active.