As much of the Asian world begins a reversal of policies banning locals from playing in casinos, India’s Goa government seems to be shifting in another direction. Some lawmakers are planning to bar Indian citizens from the country’s gambling establishments.
According to a report in the Times Now, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told an interviewer on state-sanctioned DD News on Saturday, “I sincerely believe that gambling is not good. If we can we should remove it from the state. It is human nature to gamble that is why we cannot eradicate it completely, but definitely, we cannot encourage it,” according to a report citing a live streaming interview.
“That is why we had decided on a policy to ban Goans from going to casinos. Lot has been done about it and in the days to come there will be [a] complete ban on locals going to casinos,” he added.
As reported earlier, the new coalition government also plans to remove and relocate all floating casino vessels from the Mandovi River, but Parrikar also said that the state government would not immediately act to shut down the floating casinos because some companies have invested heavily in them.
At the end of March the weakened ruling Bharatiya Janata party, which won an outright majority in parliament 5 years earlier on a promise to ban all forms of gambling in the state, gave the floating casinos a six-month extension in order to relocate, while levying a third consecutive annual increase in annual fees and license transfers.
When questioned whether proposed measures such as the ban of liquor sales along highways will create a financial crisis for the state the minister reportedly said that the state has projected an 11% growth in GDP in its most recent budget but foresaw figures as high as 14-15 percent.
His optimism was based in part on the nascent GST regime which is expected to help Goa, as it is a consumer economy. His reasoning included the thinking that, “Tax and services contribute to the revenue,” he said. A lifting of the mining ban is also expected to help.
In early February, the former Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, announced that he would leave a long-running dispute over activation of the sixth casino license on the river to the incoming government. In March the new government granted the license after being given 24 hours to do so by the High Court in Mumbai.