Goa casinos shut down today over entry fee

 
Casino operators claim business has slumped by 50 per cent after the government decision was implemented last week.

The Casino Association of Goa (CAG) is also threatening to lay off staff — most of them local Goans — if it fails to reach an accord with the government over reviewing the fee hike. “We will have no option but the shed staff to absorb losses,” CAG spokesman Narendra Punj said.

Accusing the state government of doing everything possible to “kill the business”, Punj said Goa’s biggest casino operators had decided enough was enough, and if the present situation continued, they would have to wind up for good.

Few people wanted to pay Rs 2,000 to just enter a casino when they can go to cheaper locations like Macau and Singapore, operators said. “All we’re asking for is a clear, legalised framework to operate within, but conditions are being made extremely difficult,” said John Snowball, general manager of Maharajah casino.

The industry also wants a new gaming legislation and a regulatory board to eliminate confusion and bring transparency of operation.

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