Civil protests as move of Goa casinos in near future unlikely
A protest march was led on Friday evening in Goa accusing the Panaji MLA and BJP leader, Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate (pictured below) of not committing to the poll promises to remove offshore casinos from the River Mandovi within 100 days of his election.
In September 2018, the Goa government granted an extension of 6 months to offshore casinos operating in the river They did the same later in March 2019. A total of 6 offshore are currently anchored and operating in the Mandovi River in Goa.
These gaming clubs operating in Goa generate major tax revenue for the region. The State Ports Minister, Michael Lobo, told local media that his department was willing to consider shifting of offshore casinos to Aguada Bay. But this solution was unfeasible owing to the presence of waves as boats would prefer still water. Additionally, this shift can also take place to a gaming zone near Mopa Airport in future.
The Chief Minister, Pramod Sawant has assured that the natives will be banned from entering casinos. A total of 564 Goans and 877 non-Goans have been employed in the offshore as well as onshore casinos in the state.
Valmiki Naik, who led the protest added, “Babush Monserrate’s promise for 100 days was a joke. Even if he were to fulfill it, it would not make a difference. When you want to clean the house, you do not take the garbage from one room to the next. We want them out of Goa, not shifted from the river, as far as the casinos are concerned, I am out to remove them from Panjim. I stand by my promises. My promises are meant to be kept not to be broken.”
“I had said 100 days during the elections so now that I am in the government let us see how it can be done. My stand on the casino vessels does not change even though I am entering the BJP”. Monserrate, who was elected on a Congress ticket, but joined the BJP said that just because he switched sides, his stance did not change.
Casinos in Goa are 20-year-old, globally attracting tourists. The industry contributes more than Rs 400 crore to the state in licence fees and around Rs 90 crore per year as state GST. Both the Congress and the BJP have protested ‘against’ and promised to remove the casinos when each were in opposition.
The Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) also passed a resolution last month not to renew the trade licenses of the 6 offshore casinos docked on the River Mandovi, when they come up for renewal in April-June 2020. Keep reading GutshotMagazine.com for more such industry and general casino-related news from around the world.
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