The go-to destination for poker players and casino-lovers in India, Goa offers a galore of casinos even offshore ones for the players to indulge in an array of table games. These offshore casinos are currently operating in the Mandovi River and have witnessed a steady rise in business over the past few years.
However, the casinos have been recently been accused time and again of encouraging gambling amongst Goans and hence, not well fitting within the “public morality” as well as polluting the Mandovi River. It has long been in discussion that these offshore casinos should be moved to a different location. Several authorities including the Goa State Pollution Control Board have been saying that the river from which they operate is no longer safe for activities like fishing, bathing or playing water sports. They say that the coliform bacteria overgrowth has led to the pollution of the water.
Presently, Goa has a total of 5 offshore casinos that operate from the Mandovi River, wherein they are anchored off of Panaji. The other nine are operated from five star hotels. In recent developments, the BJP-led coalition government in Goa approved a 6 month extension for the life of these offshore casinos, and has also assured that a policy decision will soon be reached about relocating the casinos to a different, safer location for smooth operations. The approval was given on the 27th September, 2017.
The Chief Minister of Goa, Manohar Parrikar spoke on this decision, by saying “do not draw a wrong meaning from this decision” taken by the cabinet. He further went on to say that the decision is in-tune with the promises he had made during the election campaigns about relocating the offshore casinos from the river.
He added, “While we have extended for 6 months, but I am confident that we will not require 6 months. By December as promised previously we will be able to come out with a main policy.”
As per sources from the government, the casinos will be relocated to the premises in the Mopa International Airport in Pernem, which is presently under construction. The area is situated about 45 Km from Panaji, where a special entertainment zone is being constructed.
The chief minister further went on to add, that he is completely against the casino industry and had promised to shut them down in the entire state. But due to the money already invested by the operators in the industry he was forced to allow them.
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