Goa to ban locals from casino floors from Feb 1: CM

Goa to ban locals from casino floors from Feb 1: CM

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. (Photo: DH)

From February 1 this year, domiciled Goans will be banned from placing bets in Goa's onshore and offshore casinos, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant announced on Thursday.  

Sawant also said, that a Gaming Commission would be notified "within two days", which will be responsible for formulating rules and regulations for the casino industry and would be the authority empowered to keep Goans away from casino gaming stations. 

"All Goans will be banned from entering casinos for playing purposes from February 1. They can continue to work in the industry, but will not be allowed to gamble," Sawant told reporters in Panaji. 

Before Sawant, successive Chief Ministers namely Digambar Kamat (Congress), Manohar Parrikar and Laxmikant Parsekar (both BJP) had given similar assurances in the past on repeated occasions, but the assurances had never reached fruition. 

Sawant on Thursday reiterated, that the ban would come into effect on February 1, as soon as the government notifies a Gaming Commission to regulate the industry. 
"The Commercial Tax Commissioner will be appointed a Gaming Commissioner, who will enforce the ban. The authority will have the powers to check if any local Goan is gambling," Sawant said. 

The Chief Minister also said, that the Gaming Commission -- which is likely be modelled on the lines of the Nevada Gaming Commission which regulates the Las Vegas casino industry -- would formulate rules and regulations for the industry. 

"The Gaming Commission will be given the powers to formulate rules and regulations for the industry," Sawant said. 

There are currently six offshore and nine onshore casinos operating in Goa. While the offshore casinos function from glitzy boats anchored in the Mandovi river off Panaji, the onshore casinos function from the many five star hotels in the coastal tourism savvy state. 

The first onshore casinos were licenced in the early 1990s, while the first offshore casino was licenced later in the same decade.