Close on the heels of the casino industry raising concern about its fate in Goa, the state’s premier industrial body has said that the government’s attitude will erode investor’s confidence in the state.
“Inviting investors, giving them licences and then imposing all sorts of restrictions will erode investor’s confidence in the state,” Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) President Cesar Menezes said.
Goa witnessed an agitation this week by casinos — land and off shore-based — protesting against the entry fee hike from Rs. 200 to Rs. 2000 per customer. For a day on Wednesday, all the casinos had shut their operations.
The GCCI in its post-budget memorandum presented to the Goa Chief Minister Digamber Kamat has insisted for the “regulatory authority,” to manage these legal gaming places.
“The Government should have a clear cut policy on Casinos and if it is decided to allow casinos in the state, the government should put in place a regulatory authority to regulate all the matters related to Casinos,” the five-page memorandum mentions giving its view point on the “entry fee on Casinos.”
The Goa government has justified the hike as a step to ‘discourage the youth of the state from entering the casinos.’
The state coffers were expected to get fatter by Rs. 36.50 crore per year with the enforcement of the hiked entry fee.
The GCCI has pointed out the irony in allowing multitude of casinos in the state.
“In the budget speech it is mentioned that “the young people are the future of the state and we don’t wish them to squander their money in casinos and fall prey to the vices of gambling” and yet without having any policy on casinos, the government has gone ahead and granted licences to multitude of casinos,” Menezes said.
Besides various land-based casinos located in five star hotel premises, the state has six off shore ones mounted on the vessels anchored in Mandovi River in Panaji.
The casino operators this week had said that the entry fee hike was unjust and it was killing the industry which has the potential to generate Rs 700 crore revenue annually for the state.