The Laxmikant Parsekar headed Goa cabinet extended the deadline for shifting offshore casinos from River Mandovi by one year. In doing so, the cabinet has modified its previous decision of August 2015, which had stated that offshore casinos would have to relocate to an alternate location latest by 31st March, 2016.
“The decision was to grant further extension to the offshore casino licences to relocate their casino vessels from river Mandovi for a further period till an alternate feasible site is finalised by the government or till March 31, 2017, which ever is earlier,” Parsekar said in media statement after the cabinet meeting.
The government had earlier identified four alternate locations; Rivers Chapora, Sal, Zuari and Aguada Bay in June last year but none of the alternate locations were found feasible. Additionally there was stiff resistance from local villages near the rivers and numerous petitions from casino employees.
The decision to not shift casinos out of River Mandovi is a temporary reprieve for the casino industry which is facing series of tough regulations including increase in license fees and taxes.