International edition
June 20, 2021

Due to begin on July 12

India: Bill to regulate casinos in Goa in next assembly session

(India).- In an effort to fulfill some of the chief minister's budget proposals, the state government will introduce various bills in the forthcoming assembly session due to begin on July 12, including a bill to regulate casino activity in Goa.

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peaking to the media, chief minister Manohar Parrikar said that the casino bill will have a provision to prevent persons below 21 years and also native Goans from entering casinos.

The legality of the latter part of that provision is to be looked into. The bill will also address fees, location of casinos, etc. Parrikar said that the actual rules and regulations will take time to be framed as the issue is quite complicated.

The attempt to prevent persons below 21 from entering casinos comes shortly after the government, in the last Budget, reduced the entry fee for casinos from 2,000 to 500. There was widespread public perception that the reduction of fees would encourage more Goan youth to enter casinos for gambling. But the chief minister argues that the high entry fees leads to avoidance of payment of fees. Parrikar said that these incidents of "substantial leakages are due to lack of effective regulation and regulatory mechanism".

The BJP has long been agitating against casinos. Not only has the party opposed the very existence of casinos in Goa, they also accused the previous Congress government of failing to frame rules to regulate casinos in Goa.

For example, in an assembly session of March 2011, Mapusa BJP MLA Francis D'Souza, who was then the chairman of the delegated legislations committee had even accused then home minister Ravi Naik of "connivance" with casino operators.

During the same debate, Parrikar as opposition leader had demanded that the government incorporate a provision in the regulations barring persons below 21 years from entering casinos. In the forthcoming assembly session, the government will also introduce bills to set up a minority commission and a human resources development corporation in Goa, Parrikar said.

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