The state government has constituted a special inspection team to check the carrying capacity of the offshore casino vessels as per a provision of the Goa Gambling Act. The team also has the mandate to carry out inspections of onshore casinos operating in star hotels in the state.
The team will be headed by the Under Secretary (Home) and include an officer of commercial taxes, assistant engineer of public works department and police inspector of the area concerned besides an officer from the Goa State Pollution Control Board as members.
During the inspection, the special team will check whether the casino operators are complying with the conditions that the casinos were asked to follow when licences were granted to them by the home department for gaming area.
A senior official in the home department said that the government issues licences for operation of casinos based on certain conditions which indicate that the provisions of the Goa Gambling Act are not violated. The team will check whether the offshore as well as the onshore casino operators are obeying the conditions, the official said.
The government has constituted the special team after it came to light that some offshore casino operators had been producing incorrect carrying capacity of the vessels, which was resulting in revenue loss to the government.
It may be noted that the government has been promising that it will come out with a casino policy and also a regulatory mechanism for the casino industry. However, as of today, no satisfactory progress has been made on this at the government level.
The casino industry has been operating in the state for over two decades; however, a regulatory mechanism including the appointment of a gaming commissioner and framing of rules is yet to see the light of day.