Government Working on Separate Legislation Governing Casinos

Panaji – The international laws governing casinos are being studied by the State government to formulate a separate legislation covering the casinos, home minister Ravi Naik said.

Naik, responding to the bill during the ongoing state legislative assembly session, said that the government is working on a separate legislation governing casinos, including off-shore casinos, as the existing law is not full-proof.

„We are studying the international laws. We cannot know how much revenue is earned by these casinos,“ Naik said adding that state government should get certain percentage on the revenue.

The home minister was participating in the debate on the private members‘ bill moved by leader of opposition Manohar Parrikar to amend Goa Public Gambling (Amendment) Bill, 2008.

Parrikar’s amendment suggested that the off-shore casinos be shifted five nautical miles away from the shore as, according to the definition, the ship-based casinos are off-shore.

The State has two licensed off-shore casinos, of which one is operating.

The bill tabled on Friday August 29 was rejected by the majority legislators.

The home minister, even though rejected the bill, conceded that the existing law is a 1976 Act which was amended in 2000 and it is not sufficient to cover all the necessary aspects.

Parrikar, former chief minister, said that gambling is not a fundamental right and government through an executive order can ask them not to operate in the river.

„The casino ships are certified as sea-worthy by the director general of shipping and hence can anchor off-shore.

He also said that the government should not issue licenses till rules are framed.

Parrikar stated that Goa, if wants off shore casino, should have comprehensive legislation governing it which will include constitution of gamming commissioner’s post.

The former chief minister also said that the security around the casinos should be stricter and all gaming rules should be followed.