Goans Banned from Casinos from 1st February 2020

Posted On 31 Jan, 2020 0

The dispute upon poker and casinos in Goa knows no end. In a move that could trigger a debate on exercising individual rights, the BJP-led Goa government announced in August 2019 that it would ban locals from entering the casinos operating in the coastal state. The move was promised by the then Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, however, the promise has now been implemented.

At present, there are six offshore and eight onshore casinos in the coastal state. In August 2019, Pramod Sawant, the current CM stated, “Casinos are for tourists. Some come to Goa only to play in the casinos. Goans should not go to casinos. I agree with this. We will fix a date after this date no more Goans will be allowed in casinos. Give me some time.”

And it turned out that local Goans will be prohibited from entering and playing in casinos from 1st February 2020 onwards and the commissioner of the commercial tax department would be appointed as the gaming commissioner under Section 13C of the Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act as amended in 2012 by Parrikar. The Port Minister Michael Lobo had earlier indicated a pending circular to ban locals from entering casinos would be issued shortly and the Gaming Commissioner would be formally appointed before the state budget session in the legislative assembly next week.

On the other hand, Sawant also pointed out that the newly designated commissioner will have the power to inspect casinos and monitor at any point of the time, asking people for their identity proofs in the offshore and onshore casinos in the state, preventing the domicile Goans any access. "Gaming Commission will draft rules and regulations."

Last year, BJP MLA Atanasio Monserrate stated that “I know many Goans businessmen and builders who have become addicted to gambling because of this. I assure you that if you ban locals from casinos the business of the casinos will go down by 50%. In Macau no locals are allowed in casinos.”

How will this affect poker pros?

Goa is the heart of poker, serving home to several poker pros of the country. With live tournaments hitting the coastal state like Baazi Poker Tour (BPT), India Poker Championship (IPC), or Deltin Poker Tournament (DPT), several enthusiasts have shifted to the state over a span of few years. One may ponder over the issue on how this move would affect the players who have shifted to the state to play live poker and carry out their job of being full-time poker professionals. Barring the right to access the casino floor wouldn't hamper them as the rule would only be for local Goan residents. 

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