No casino policy, no alternative site, so far


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.