In India, despite not winning an outright majority in recent Goa state elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party has been invited to form a government for the next five-year parliamentary term while reportedly also partially reversing its previous stance against casinos.
According to a report from Asia Gaming Brief, the conservative political party won an outright majority at the previous Goa elections in 2012 on the back of a promise to shutter all of the state’s casinos. But, it subsequently failed to close a single venue and was even forced to activate a sixth floating gambling license last week following a ruling from the Mumbai High Court.
The Bharatiya Janata Party won 13 of 40 seats in the recent elections for the Goa Legislative Assembly and was asked to form a government after showing that it could count on the support of nine independent parliamentarians.
Now, the Bharatiya Janata Party governor for the small western state, Mridula Sinha, has declared that the state’s casinos should be allowed to stay open so long as they are run in accordance with local regulations.
“One can’t shut them down since a lot of tourists and visitors frequent them,” said Sinha. “Instead of banning them [we should] keep a strict watch on their activities.”
Goa now has 15 casinos including six situated aboard boats on the Mandovi River and their future had been in jeopardy as the opposition Indian National Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party had made at least the partial closure of these venues a major plank of their campaigns despite official figures that suggested the industry last year contributed approximately $19 million to the state’s coffers.
In the end, the Aam Aadmi Party failed to gain any seats in the Goa Legislative Assembly while the Indian National Congress is to be the second largest political party in the state after managing to win 17 seats.