Says government will not permit transfer of licences
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has said that licences of offshore casinos which have lapsed or terminated will not be renewed or any transfer of licences will be permitted.
The Chief Minister, who also holds the Home portfolio, was replying to a question on offshore casinos during Question Hour in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday.
Casino licences in Goa are regulated by the Home Ministry under the provisions of the amended Anti-gambling Act.
Congress MLA and former Minister Vishwajit Rane voiced apprehensions that North Indians would come to Goa with illegal money and invest in casinos and urged the government to act tough and not to permit transfer of licences.
Mr. Parrikar said that his government had scrapped a provision for transfer of licences which was allowed by the previous government. He said that five of the six offshore casinos had licences, but only four of them were operational. The four casinos were Casino Carnival, Casino Pride, Casino Royale and Casino Caravela.
In reply to a question, Mr. Parrikar said that once a licence lapsed, it ceased to be a casino and would be treated as an ordinary boat.
The Chief Minister revealed that a boat, m.v. Leela, anchored in the Mandovi river was not under operation and action was being initiated to attach and auction it by the State Tourism Department.
He said that casinos not paying their dues would not be allowed to operate. They would have to furnish a bank guarantee. Mr. Parrikar said hat in case of m.v. Leela, the government was persuading the owner to clear his dues amounting to Rs.13 crore. If the owner tried to sell the casino, the government would not renew the licence nor it would allow any transfer.
Leader of the Opposition Pratapsingh Rane voiced concerns over sewage disposal into the river by casinos. The Chief Minister dispelled the apprehensions saying that sewage was off-loaded from the vessels into tankers and taken to the sewage treatment plant.
Mr. Rane said that boats, which were not operating as casinos but continue to have gaming machines, should be taxed.
The State Tourism Department has threatened to auction the defunct off-shore casino, Casino Rio, operating from the vessel m.v. Leela in case it is not removed from the Mandovi.
In a notice issued to its owner recently, the department stated that the vessel had become a nuisance and affected the tourism potential of the river.
‘Licences of offshore casinos which have lapsed or terminated will not be renewed’ Casinos that have not paid their dues will not be allowed to operate: Parrikar
‘Licences of offshore casinos which have lapsed or terminated will not be renewed’
Casinos that have not paid their dues will not be allowed to operate: Parrikar