Local Goa News

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Government helpless in stopping casinos: CM

Says law can be amended to restrict casinos to 2 km away from the coast; revenue from casinos helped tide over cash crisis

PORVORIM: Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar informed the Legislative Assembly on Thursday that the government is helpless in stopping casinos but the law can be amended to restrict casinos to two kilometres away from the coast.

“The Assembly has power to amend the legislation governing casinos. If people feel that this activity should be banned then we can restrict casinos to two kms away from the coast,” Parsekar said while responding to the cut motions moved by opposition for demands for grants to the Home department.
Parsekar clarified that the government has no policy to promote casinos. “Casinos do not fit in the investment promotion policy of the State government. Government will not encourage casinos,” the Chief Minister said.
Expressing helplessness, he said, “As per the law if there are new applications fulfilling all the formalities then we will have to grant them licenses. We can avoid giving licences to offshore casino by showing that we have no place to anchor the vessel but if there is an application by five star hotels to have on shore casino we can’t avoid. The law of the land is binding on me,” Parsekar said.
Parsekar said that ideologically BJP is opposed to casinos. “To impose controls, we have increased the fees. We have also made provision to have a gaming commissioner, we have specified powers, duties and functions,” he said.
He said the gaming commissioner will be able to check and control the casinos. “Through him, gaming activity would be regulated and he will have powers to act against the violators. He can even close or seal the casino,” he said.
Parsekar admitted that when State government was in financial crisis, the revenue earned from casinos helped tide over the economy.

Herald Goa News

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