Since April 2018, the issue of relocation of the offshore casinos from the river Mandovi has been an issue and the never-ending disputes between political parties has been dragging the decision along.
Currently, after extending since the past two years, the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant-led State cabinet on Wednesday granted a further six-month extension to operate in River Mandovi till March 31, 2021, as the government is yet to identify an alternative site for their relocation. The previous extension ended on 30th September.
There are currently six offshore casinos operating in the Mandovi – MV Horseshoe Casino, MV Pride of Goa, MV Casino Royale, MV Argosy IV, MV Royale Flotel and MV Lucky. The decision to relocate the casinos was taken back in 2013 but the inability of the then BJP-led government to identify a suitable location has resulted in the government to grant them a series of extensions to continue in the river since March, 2014.
Due to the pandemic outbreak, all casinos have been shut down since March 2020. Although the government is starting to grant “unlock” access to certain industries, there’s still no word of when the casinos will resume.
Panjim Mayor Uday Madkaikar said, “The CCP has decided not to renew the trade licence of the offshore casinos. The licences were due for renewal after March 31.”