Goa’s floating casino industry brings in huge revenue for the state government as both domestic and international tourists are eager to get on board and experience a night out on a floating casino. The state government has been under pressure to relocate these floating casinos which operate from the Mandovi river to Aguada bay.
Opposition parties want these floating casinos to relocate to two different locations namely River Zuari and the River Chapora. These proposed re-location plans have already been met with stiff opposition from a number of parties who believe that the relocation would severely impact the environment and local fisherman. A total of 2,500 objections were sent to the state home department and close to 2,450 of these objections came from casino employees who were against the relocation process.
The Captain of Ports (CoP) who proposed the new relocation sites for the floating casinos continues to remain adamant that the new locations will not hamper or cause a problem for anyone and is best suited for the floating casino industry. However, a number of NGOs have also objected to the new relocation proposal and the state home department has finally yielded to the pressure asking the CoP to once again review its suggestions and submit a final proposal.
Fishermen have stated that the dredging required to relocate the new casinos will have a severe impact on marine life and will hurt their livelihood. The CoP believes that these are small challenges that are a part of the relocation process and something that can be dealt with. In a statement, James Braganza, captain of ports said “We still stand by the locations we have identified to move the casinos but if there are objections to the move then the government has to take a final call.” The captain also stated that if the government decided to look for new locations, then it must be prepared to wait for a considerable period of time to identify and finalize on new sites.
In the meantime, political parties continue to put pressure on the four casinos that are currently operating on the River Mandovi and have termed the industry as an evil to society. The four floating casinos are the M V Pride of Goa (Casino Pride of Goa), M V Boa Sorte (Casino Pride of Goa 2), M V Casino Royale (Deltin Jaqk) and M V Horseshoe casino (Deltin Royale) which is currently out of commission for refurbishing.
These floating casinos have a permit to operate on the Mandovi River until the 31st of March 2016 and if a new home is not found for them soon, they could go out of business.