Congress demands Goa casino licenses to be auctioned
Goa is one of the few states in India where casino gaming is legal, but there always seems to be a whole lot of drama around the same. Political parties in the state have always used the casino topic as one of the pillars of their campaign. Now the casino business is like any other, looking to attract more and more customers thereby maximising their revenues but it has not been smooth sailing for them. The domestic gaming industry itself faces their own issues such as extreme hikes in casino license fees or proposals for the casinos to be moved out of the river Mandovi into 'proper' international waters, protests by environmental groups and a number of other issues.
Now, there's another twist in the tale after the latest story from Goa said that casino operators would be given a 6-month extension to move out of the Mandovi (extension given end of September). Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) has now called for the casino licenses to be auctioned rather than being given away directly to the offshore casino operators.
A few days earlier, Goa’s Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai mentioned the possibility of a Vegas-like Goa Strip, that would have all casinos along the Panaji coastline. The GPCC President Girish Chodankar responded to that saying, “The license should be auctioned, because that is the policy adopted across the country.”
According to local news reports, Chodankar was also quoted as saying, “Coal blocks, mining leases, 2G spectrum is auctioned so why not auction casino licenses too?” However, it will be interesting to see whether this policy will be taken into consideration. We're not sure whether existing casino operators will be too pleased with the idea of an auction.
In the next few months, the Goa Government is expected to pass a new bill that will be aimed at moving out the casinos from the river and onto land, in a special designated zone where gambling activities will be permitted. According to reports, casino operators, which include the likes of Delta Corp and others, will be handed out licenses of 15 years.
For more updates on Goa casinos and updates on whether the auction policy will be implemented or not, keep following GutshotMagazine.com.
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