In July, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar of India revealed that the floating casinos of Goa would have to be moved onshore in three years’ time and that locals were also banned from participating in such gaming options. Five casinos located on the Mandovi River off Panaji were to move from water to land and relocate their gaming operations to a new entertainment zone within the three-year time frame due to a new gambling policy.
On Wednesday, a six-month extension was reportedly approved by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led (BJP) coalition government in Goa.
According to Thehindu.com, the government of Goa has approved a six-month extension for off-shore casinos that are situated on the Mandovi River. At a later date, a policy decision will be provided on the relocation of the venues.
Parrikar reportedly stated during a State Secretariat Cabinet briefing that people are not to ‘draw the wrong meaning’ from the extension. The decision was made by the Cabinet based on the promise of a new relocation policy of the BJP-led coalition government, he said. While an extension of six months was granted, according to Parrikar, the relocation policy should be ready by December.
There are currently five off-shore casinos in operation along the Mandovi River. Ten operate from hotel locations. The state government has been criticized by several groups including political parties for allowing off-shore casinos to operate on the river.
Towards the latter part of March this year, the ruling BJP gave the floating casinos another six-month extension to relocate from the Mandovi River to a new permanent location. It was the third consecutive extension the floating casinos received, after the first extension from April 2015 was prolonged with another one-year extension set to expire this March 31st.
Also given an extension was the removal of Golden Globe Hotels Pvt Ltd’s floating casino, MV Lucky 7 from Miramar beach after its owners were unable to tow it back by the current deadline. They now have until October 10 to do so. In July, the vessel got stuck on a sandbar while being towed from Mormugao Harbor to its designated anchoring spot in Panaji on the Mandovi River.