Goa CM Assures Unveiling of New Casino Policy in January giving a Silent warning to Matka Gambling in the state

Finally, Goa Government seems to have decided to unveil the Casino policy which will apparently tighten the screws on the Gambling activities in the state such as Matka. Although the policy which CM has apparently assured to unveil in the month of January is called as Casino Policy and it will provide a guideline for comprehensive amendment to the Goa Public Gambling Act, 1976 but according to the sources, it has been targeted towards crushing down the Matka Gambling in the state which supposedly posing a threat to Casino Business in the state…

The Casinos, especially the off-shore ones, have always remained into the controversy due to the various reasons, and it has also become the powerful weapon in the hands of the opposition who’s targeting the ruling government for promoting the gambling activities in the state. But on the other side, the ruling government always trying to show the mirror to the opposition by blaming them for starting the off-shore casinos in Goa.

There is no doubt that the Casinos have entered into the state at the time when the Congress Era was about to end but, according to Parrikar lead government, it was the Congress who gave all the permissions to the Casinos in Goa (and the BJP is only taking care of it). Nevertheless, this is never ending debate and it will not reach anywhere as the fact is both the government wanted the Casinos in the state to generate revenue.

The whole agenda of BJP for coming to the power in Goa was the elimination of Casinos from the state. According to the reports, during the general elections of 2012, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had assured that the casinos will be removed from the Mandovi before the ending of his term. “I will see to it that before my term gets over there will be no more Casinos in the Mandovi,” he had said this in the press conference adding that “In the next two years all the Casinos will be sent out of the River Mandovi, No more licenses will be issued and the licenses which are expiring in the next two years will not be renewed.”

The above statement came in the year 2012 and now we are in 2017 which is ending in few days, but the Casinos are floating with the Pride and in fact, one more Casino added to the fleet recently. The point here is, no government has guts to remove the casinos from Mandovi river and the same has been proved in the last one decade, and hence according to the sources, the new so-called Casino Policy will not be meant for the Casinos but for other unconventional gambling like Matka and Online Lotteries.

Coming back to the main subject, according the reports published in the local daily The Navhind Times Chief Minister of Goa, Shri Manohar Parrikar on Thursday made an announcement that the state casino policy will be unveiled at the beginning of the New Year 2018, and it will provide a guideline for comprehensive amendment to the Goa Public Gambling Act, 1976, which will tighten screws on gambling activities such as matka, and further have a provision for a gaming commissioner to regulate the casino industry in the state.” (in the above statement it is nowhere said that to tighten two screws of Casinos!!!)

Talking to the media persons Parrikar said that Section 13(A) of the Goa Public Gambling Act also needs to be properly established in the draft, and the section pertains to ‘Authorised Game’ and it’s sub-section (1) states that “Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, the government may authorise any game of electronic amusement/ slot machines in five-star hotels (and such table games and gaming on board in vessels offshore as may be notified) subject to such conditions, including payment of such recurring and non-recurring fees, as may be prescribed.” Furthermore, the sub-section (2) of Section 13(A) states, “The provisions of this Act shall not apply to any game authorized under sub-section (1).”

The CM has further assured that no more casinos will be allowed in the River Mandovi. “The policy would also ensure that no more vessels are issued new licenses to run the offshore gambling activities,” he noted. Meanwhile, Gopal Kanda’s Casino has been given permission by the High Court to operate in the river Mandovi. The Chief Minister said the owner of the vessel ‘Lucky 7’, Gopal Kanda has sought permission from the government to use the non-operational ‘Maharaja’ vessel, which is presently anchored in Mandovi river, for the purpose of running the offshore gambling operations, as ‘Lucky 7’ has been damaged and would be at Cochin for repairs, for at least another three  months. Kanda has taken the ‘Maharaja’ vessel on lease for a period of six months, and proposes to use it for the offshore gambling operations by using the license granted for ‘Lucky 7’ vessel.

The trail of assurances which goes back in 2012 will continue for how long, nobody knows but one thing that everyone is sure of is the Casinos are here to stay and nobody is moving them out of the Mandovi. What do you say? Please leave your valuable comments and suggestion on this issue.



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