Panaji: It appears that the government’s plan to shift all offshore casino vessels from the Mandovi could be a difficult task as no alternative site could be zeroed in on so far due to strong opposition from all corners.
Sources said the government has asked the home department to set in motion the process for drafting a casino policy. The process for formulating the policy calls for weighing in all aspects before the draft is finalised.
It is pertinent to note here that push for the casino policy gained momentum after persistent demand was made for shifting the casino vessels from the Mandovi.
The shifting of the casino vessels has been a long-pending demand and an assurance as well.
However, not much progress has been made in this direction.
In the past, attempts were made by the government to identify alternative sites for shifting the vessels.
The government had suggested alternative sites – river Zuari, Aguada bay, Chapora and Sal rivers. However, the proposal was frustrated by strong opposition from locals. Talk on framing of the policy has been going on for the last seven years. However, nothing much has been done in this front too.
Interestingly, the government had drafted rules for regulating casino operations in the state and same were vetted by the law department. Although the process for framing gaming commission rules had been initiated in 2013, not much progress has been made in the last six years for adopting them.
Some casino operators have shown willingness to shift their vessels to a new site. However, they want to be reassured that they will get business at the new place.
In the absence of a casino policy and inability to identify an alternative site, the state grants extensions to offshore casino vessels to operate in the Mandovi after every six months.