Goa Government on Wednesday decided against allowing any more offshore casinos in the coastal state and also formed a policy framework to ensure that existing casino vessels move out of Mandovi river within next two years.

The state Cabinet which met at Porvorim ministerial block this afternoon discussed the issue of offshore casinos and ruled out granting any fresh licences for any offshore facility.

The issue had invited criticism to Manohar Parrikar-led government.

“It is decided that government will not allow any more offshore casinos in the state,” the Chief Minister told reporters emerging from the Cabinet meeting.

He clarified that the ban on additional casinos was applicable only for the offshore facilities and not for those on land.

The Cabinet also adopted a policy framework wherein licences of those offshore casinos expiring before March 31, 2014 could be renewed but with a rider that they will move out of Mandovi river within next two years.

“Those casinos whose licences are expiring after March 31, 2014 shall not be renewed,” Mr. Parrikar said.

He said, “there are five casinos in Mandovi river at present, and within two years, all of them will move into the mid sea.”

“They (casinos) will not be allowed to operate in any other river,” the Chief Minister said, adding that BJP had promised to remove casinos from Mandovi river before its tenure ends in year 2018.

Mr. Parrikar alleged that the erstwhile Congress government had invited casinos in the state and his government was wrongly accused of sheltering offshore casinos.