Casinos are here to stay – Goa Chief Minister

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The Image is used for Representational purpose only Image Source: Reuter

Issues related to the casinos have surfaced a lot over the period of time; Goa government is trying to keep them running whichever way possible. Now another story related to casino comes into the picture as the government is planning, the possibility of converting the offshore casinos into land casinos. Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar during the Cabinet meeting on Thursday said that two proposals came forward on the relocation of offshore casinos, wherein he proposed that the offshore casinos be converted into land casinos. After the new invention of Goa Government of coconut Tree, no more a tree, the government is coming up with a similar idea on the casino issue. Let’s check out what government now has to say about it.

River Mandovi the hub for offshore casino vessels will now continue for one more year as the government has granted the extension to the four offshore casino vessels to relocate them from their present hub on River Mandovi.

The state cabinet has decided to lengthen the deadline to one more year to the four offshore casino vessels from River Mandovi for a further timing till an alternative possible spot is finalised by the government or  31st March 2017 whichever is earlier. Moreover, the cabinet has also permitted M/s Delta Pleasure Cruise Company Pvt. Ltd. for operating their vessel M V Royale Flotel on River Mandovi on the same basis.

Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar while speaking to media after cabinet meeting said that, “the government has also asked the Captain of Ports to revisit the identified sites and submit a proposal for consideration of the government.”

As per the government’s earlier cabinet decision in August 2015 it had granted the six-month extension to the vessels to shift, the deadline expired on Thursday.

Chief Minister has said that as per the policy sanctioned by the government in the month of August 2013, licences of the offshore casinos expiring after March 31, 2014, will not be renewed. He also added that the licences of offshore casinos expiring before March 31, 2014, may be renewed only to the condition that they shall move out of the River Mandovi within the next two years and no new licences will be issued to any offshore casino.

Chief Minister told the media, “In Goa there is no opposition to land casinos. So we can ask the offshore casino operators to identify the suitable land site and shift their casinos there.”

“Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza was of the opinion that government can demarcate an area in the high seas and relocate these vessels there. We can issue directives to these operators to develop sea worth vessels and relocate,” Parsekar said.

“Government could not identify feasible sites for relocation of casino vessels. Based on the suggestions received from the stakeholders and public, it was concluded that the four identified sites were not feasible and also there was complete opposition from the locals,” informed the Chief Minister.

For the moment, Congress criticised the state government for extending the time limit for relocating casinos out of River Mandovi, asserting that the BJP has backstabbed Goans.

Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) in a statement issued by general secretary Sunil Kawthankar said that “BJP government today has crossed yet another milestone of shameless U-turns on its own promises with this decision, which bolsters our belief and claim that the BJP government is run by the casino lobby.” He also said that BJP has backstabbed those who believed their election promise of removing the casinos.

Currently, there are four offshore casinos operating in River Mandovi. They are MV Horseshoe Casino run by Delta Corp Limited, MV Pride of Goa run by Goa Coastal Resorts and Recreation Pvt. Ltd., MV Casino Royale operated by Highstreet Cruises and Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. and MV Boa Sorte run by Golden Peace Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd.

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