Finally, casino owners in Goa can now heave a sigh of relief as there has been a positive response from the state government for renewing casino licenses.
On Thursday, the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) stated that it will renew trade licences of offshore casinos in the Mandovi river. The license will be renewed for a period of one year. Panaji mayor Uday Madkaikar’s announcement comes three months after stating that CCP was firm on its stand not to renew the casino trade licenses, and a year and a half after Panaji MLA Atanasio Monserrate promised to move the casinos out of the Mandovi river within 100 days of winning the 2019 Panaji byelection.
Madkaikar told the reporters that, “It is the government that renewed the casino licences so the CCP’s role was limited to renewing trade licences for the casinos offices onshore. Restaurant owners, hoteliers and rickshaw drivers met us and requested us to renew their licenses as they already faced hardships (no business) due to Covid-19. So we decided to renew it. The final decision will be taken at the council meeting, but the commissioner and I have asked them to submit fresh applications.”
He further added, “We cannot keep their trade licences on hold if the government has given them permission to operate. We will follow up with the captain of ports and ports minster Michael Lobo who gave an assurance that he would shift two casinos out of here. The two casinos were ready, but there was opposition from the people. We will follow up with them. We don’t want the casinos. We have not retracted our stand on this.” It has also been noted that the CCP had hiked the casino fees to INR 52 Lakh.