The Supreme Court’s latest rules that ban liquor sales within 500 meters of national and state highways, will not affect Goa’s offshore casinos.
Casinos on the Mandovi River, which is the lifeline of the Indian state of Goa, are reportedly not within the minimum distance criteria stated in the new rules, according to Goa’s Excise Department, which is in the process of mapping liquor sales in outlets along state and national highways.
Menino D’Souza, Goa’s Excise Commissioner, reportedly told the Press Trust of India, “If any casino vessel is within 500 meters of the bridge we will not renew their license. But as per Google Maps, they are 800 meters away from the bridge on national highway,”
According to the report, the understanding is that the Supreme Court order will, however, impact cruise boats that ferry tourists. D’Souza said, “The boat cruises are located within 500 meters of the national highway no 17. Right now we have to go as per the law and licenses will not be renewed after March 31.”
Currently, four boat cruises operate on the Mandovi River and the Excise Department permits sunset cruises to serve liquor on board, according to The Indian Express.
Despite gambling being heavily restricted in India, there are currently approximately 14 land-based and floating casinos in Goa alone. Only three states in the country allow casinos, Goa, Sikkim, and Daman. Past administrations have voiced strong opposition to gambling in Goa and the issue of whether or not to maintain casino gambling was a major point of contention in recent elections.