Goa’s chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar said the government is not in favour of stopping the operations of existing casino boats licensed by the Indian coastal state. But he said no new ones would be allowed.
Former chief minister and fellow Bharatiya Janata Party member Manohar Parrikar – who stepped down in November in order to become Indian’s national minister of defence – had promised in the state assembly last year that from December 2015 casino boats would be barred from mooring near the state’s capital.
Addressing a press conference on Friday, Mr Parsekar said so-called offshore casinos were generating considerable income for the Goa government.
“Their business is going on. They were permitted… It was because of permissions maybe of the earlier government that they are functioning there. Bucking such a set business may end up in someone going to court,” Mr Parsekar was quoted saying by local media.
“Casino owners may go to the court and get a stay. We should not disturb a settled business,” he added.
According to Indo-Asian News Service (IANS), a private Indian news agency, Goa has five operational offshore casinos and about 10 onshore casinos based in five-star hotels.
The casino industry welcomed the chief minister’s statement, according to media reports. “This will not only provide stability to the industry but also encourage investors to invest more in tourism and other sectors in the state,” said Shrinivas Nayak, director of Pride Group of Casinos and Hotels and a vocal advocate of the casino lobby in Goa.
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Amount that each Macau casino operator paid for the circa six-month extension of their respective contract