Just days after Chief Minister Pramod Sawant announced that Goans are to be banned from visiting casinos in the state from February 1 ‘20, State Ports Minister Michael Lobo said that Goans should be allowed to continue visiting casinos. He also demanded that “matka gambling” be legalised in the state and a “GST-like” tax imposed on the activity.
Recent news had stated that Pramod Sawant, Chief Minister of Goa declared a ban on Goans from entering casinos in the state from February 1st 2020; however his party colleague and State Ports Minister Michael Lobo said that Goans should be allowed to visit casinos as there is a difference between visiting a casino and gambling, as mentioned by The Times of India.
He said, “There are other things in casinos besides gaming. There is music, entertainment, food, etc. Nepal and Sri Lanka have banned their citizens from gambling in casinos. Goans are Indian nationals, so you should not allow all Indians entry while not allowing Goans. This needs to be debated at the highest levels.”
Lobo further stated that former Goa CM Manohar Parrikar amended the state’s gambling law in 2012 after receiving various complaints that gambling has destroyed people financially. Loads of people took financial loans to gamble, in the hopes to get rich quickly, and ended up losing all their money. This in turn forced Parrikar to modify the law, which the new government has now implemented.
Lobo also stated that Matka being a form of daily lottery, should be legalised in the state. He said that Goa was losing revenue due to the popular, yet legal, Matka racket in the state, and legalising the game would in fact help add to Goa’s revenue collections from GST. Lobo is quoted to have told reporters as per an IANS Release, “Today or tomorrow matka will be legal. There will be no ban. It will be legal. It will come under the ambit of law.” The minister stated, “No one pays GST on matka. There is a huge loss to the government. My request is to let it come under the purview of law and GST should be applied on it.”