30 Jan 2020 | 06:04am IST
Gaming Commission, ban on entry of Goans in casinos before Budget session: Minister
PANJIM: The much-debated and long-pending proposal to appoint a Gaming Commission, which had been kept on the backburner for years, may finally become a reality before the Budget session of the Goa Legislative Assembly next week.
Ports Minister Michael Lobo told Herald that the circular on the appointment of a Gaming Commission will be out soon. “With the circular, the government will also ban entry of Goans in the offshore casinos,” Lobo said.
Speaking on Gaming Commission, Lobo said a lot of debate has taken place during the last seven years but it still has not come up. “The Gaming Commission is required for transparency and other aspects as far as casinos are concerned,” he said.
Asked about the proposal to shift offshore casinos to land, the Minister said it was a decision taken during the government of Late Manohar Parrikar. “Casino owners had agreed to the proposal but suggested that they should be given time and be allowed to have live gaming. The same was agreed by the then CM, who had said that soon we will come out with the land casino policy for Goa,” Lobo said.
He added that the policy is also pending and it would be taken up by the Chief Minister shortly. He said that once the policy comes up, the offshore casinos will be shifted in a phased manner.
Lobo said the decision to streamline the casino industry is important as it is part of tourism activity in Goa and India. “Lot of tourists come to Goa, both Indians as well as foreigners, for this particularly activity (casino). Casinos are part of tourism activity in Goa and in India and we have to agree to this. A lot of people do not agree to this... but as a stakeholder of the tourism industry, I agree with this,” he said.
In 2012, the State government had proposed to appoint a Gaming Commission to keep watch on the functioning of all casinos – offshore and land.