Goa seeks legal opinion on casino impasse

The Goa government is seeking legal opinion to resolve the controversy surrounding the second off-shore casino in the river Sal.

“We have sought legal opinion on the entire matter before proceeding further on the issue,” state Chief Secretary J P Singh said.

Singh, who was supposed to give his verdict on the issue, after South Goa locals opposed the second off-shore casino, said he would require more time to decide.

Local fishermen have contended that the state’s second off-shore casino, licenced to Leela Hotels, is blocking movement of the fishing trawlers.

The agitation, which was started by local fishermen, got a boost after Catholic Church and non-governmental organisations like Goa Bachao Abhiyaan (GBA) also joined it.

“We are looking into the aspect of whether off-shore casinos can operate just next to the river bank… They should be somewhere inside the waters,” Singh said when pointed out that the vessel mounted with the live gaming casino is tucked just next to the shore.

He said Chief Minister Digamber Kamat had personally requested Leela to shift the vessel. “We are waiting for a response from them,” he said.