The state of Goa is one of the more liberal states in India and that is primarily because Goa generates a significant amount of its revenue by catering to foreign tourists. Goa is also one out of the three states in the country that permits legalized gambling and has a mixture of both land based and floating casinos.
The casino industry is a huge hit with foreigners as well as domestic tourists who visit Goa on a regular basis to enjoy its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife and to have fun at the casinos. There have been calls by religious and political groups in the past to ban all forms of gambling in Goa as these groups consider it an evil to society but have so far not been successful in banning gambling.
The home department has decided to address the issue with a different approach by putting together a new law that seeks to ban Goans from entering these casinos. The new bill is currently under review by the law department and if approved, any Goan found visiting a casino will be arrested and prosecuted based on the new law. The new rules will also make it illegal for any individual below 21 years of age to be able to enter casinos in Goa.
The new draft rules state that Indian gamblers will be asked for identity proof before they gain entry into the casino. The draft states that “The permit will be issued based on the identity proof — PAN card, licence, aadhaar card, etc — provided by the person who wants to gamble at a casino.” The new draft will also look to establish a new department that will have the authority to conduct searches at these casinos and arrest anyone who has not met the stipulated requirements.
If the law department passes this new draft, it will then be sent to the cabinet for review. The Goa Public Gaming Act, 1976 has been reviewed in the recent past with the state government making changes in June 2012 by adding the Goa Public Gaming (Amendment) Bill, 2012.
The home department also stated that it recognized the fact that the casino industry in Goa provided employment opportunities to thousands of Goans and confirmed that this law would not affect their employment with these casinos. They will be allowed to work in the casino but will not have permission to gamble.