Pramod Sawant, Chief Minister of Goa has recently announced that Goan locals will be banned from entering and playing in Casinos from 1st February 2020 onwards. He also stated that the Commercial Tax Commissioner has been designated as Gaming Commissioner under Section 13C of the Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act as amended in 2012 by late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
Sawant also stated that the newly appointed Gaming Commissioner will be given the right to enter any casino in the state at any time and ask for identity proofs of people entering offshore and onshore casinos in the state.
The amendment to the Goa Gambling Act to insert provisions to appoint a Gaming Commissioner to oversee and regulate casinos in the state and ban locals from accessing casinos was passed by the Goa legislative assembly back in 2012, but a formal notification to implement the same has not been issued till date.
In the meantime, state ports minister Michael Lobo had indicated that a long-pending circular to ban locals from entering casinos would be issued soon and the Gaming Commissioner would be formally appointed before the state budget session in the legislative assembly in the coming week.
Lobo had also stated that the pending Casino Policy of the state, that entails moving of the offshore casinos to a land zone near the upcoming Mopa airport will be taken up soon, once the ban on iron ore mining in the state imposed by the Supreme Court is lifted.
“Gaming Commission will draft rules and regulations,” Mr Sawant said.
There are currently six offshore casinos anchored and operating from the Mandovi river, while there are nine onshore casinos.
The first casino in Goa became operational in 1999, while the latest opened for business early 2019. The decision of banning Goans from gambling comes days ahead of the state budget — with the state looking at heavy debts once again.