Reiterating that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is opposed to offshore casinos, Chief Minister Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told the State Legislative Assembly on Wednesday and assured the house clearly that no operational offshore casinos would be allowed to function in the Mandovi River off Panaji by 2015.
Mr. Parrikar was replying to a question at the question hour during the budget session in the State Assembly.
"I assure you that by 2015, there will be no operational casino in the Mandovi," he said, and agreed that five offshore casinos currently operating in the river off Panaji would have to be moved.
"If they approach me, we can think about giving them a place somewhere," he said.
Goa has five operational offshore casinos and 10 onshore casinos run in five star hotels which attract large number of tourists to the coastal tourist state.
Responding to the demands made by civil society groups ahead of March 2012 Legislative Assembly elections, the BJP had promised to "throw the casinos into the sea" after coming to power, but after coming to power, Mr. Parrikar said the casinos would be relocated to the deep seas off Goa, but only after four years.
"Our opposition was only to offshore casinos not onshore casinos. There is a difference," Mr. Parrikar said in reply to a supplementary in the Assembly.