The ruling BJP government in Goa has received flak from different parties in the state after a new tourism video showcased its casino industry. Goa is the only state in India to have an offshore and onshore casino industry which has been the subject of controversy for a number of years.
The state government has gone back and forth on its stance over the casino industry in recent times to please different religious groups and parties in the state. It wasn’t too long ago that the state government said that it would look to do away with the casion industry and not renew anymore casino licenses once they expire. There were also talks of shifting Goa’s offshore casinos from the River Mandovi but that is yet to happen.
Casinos Very Much Part of Goa Tourism Drive
Goa’s new tourism video showcases the casino industry and it caused quite a surprise with some of the local media. The fact that Goa is promoting its casino industry suggests that the ruling government is not going to take steps to reduce or remove casino operators from the state as it goes against the logic of promoting something and then trying to close it down.
Goa CM Pramod Sawant decided to speak to the media to clarify things with regards to casinos operating in the state.
In a statement, CM Sawant said “In the present circumstance, tourists are coming to visit casinos as well. Keeping in mind that Goa is a tourist place and with regards to the tourism sector, we need to promote every activity, which brings interest to tourists and also helps the development of the State”.
The Chief Minister also clarified that the government had taken a tough stance on the casino industry in the past but had never stated that it would completely shut down the casino industry in Goa as it provides the state with many benefits by boosting tourism, creating employment opportunities and generating taxes for the state government.
New Casino Policy Will Be Finalized Soon
The CM also provided an updated to the progress of the Goa Casino Policy which is currently in review. The new policy looks to establish a new gaming commission that will oversee the casino industry in the state. The new policy will not look to shut down the offshore casino industry. The relocation of these offshore casinos will also be put on hold until an amendment to the existing gambling laws gets made!