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Operators claim lack of clarity on order banning Goans from visiting casinos

Panaji: Casino operators in the state, on Monday, came down heavily on the government for the lack of clarity on the order banning Goans from visiting casinos.

Upset over the ban and its impact on business, the operators said that the order is vague even though it is in force from February 1, 2020.

“The government while issuing the order has not framed the rules on who are the Goans who are debarred from visiting casinos. Further, it is not clear whether the order is a blanket ban or whether entry will be allowed with a permit,” said a land-based casino operator.

The operators said that the government should have invited stakeholders’ suggestions before implementing the ban order.

According to the operators, many locals visit the casinos and not always for gambling.

“Many  visit for ambience as the entertainment is good,” said an offshore casino operator.

According to the industry, of late the number of Goans visiting casinos has decreased.

“Initially, when casinos were a novelty many locals visited casinos but now the share has come down to about five per cent,” said the manager of a land- based casino. 

He said that number of Goan visitors reduced after the entry fee was hiked.

Industry operators claimed that they have “started checking ID cards of customers after the order was issued, although there is no demand as yet from the government’s side to distinguish between local and non-local customers.”

On January 30, the government issued a terse notification that stated that the provisions of Section 3, Section 4 and Section 5 of the Goa Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act, 1976 will come into force from February 1.

While Section 3 relates to punishment for keeping common gaming house, Section 4 is punishment for gaming in common gaming house and Section 5 is “power to enter and authorise police to enter and search.”

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