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Sixth offshore casino in Goa likely as HC directs government to issue license to Golden Globe within 24 hours

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The Goa bench of the Bombay High Court directed the government to consider renewal of the offshore casino license of Gopal Kanda promoted GoldenGlobe Hotels Pvt. Ltd. (GGHPL) within 24 hours.

A division bench of the High Court comprising of Justices CV Bhadang and Anoop Mohta by an order dated 8th March, 2017 directed the government to consider renewal of the Golden Globe license within 24 hours.

Last year, GGHPL attempted to revive its offshore casino license by paying its pending dues and license fees of over Rs. 46 crores. The company later approached the High Court seeking renewal of its license since it had completed all necessary formalities and paid all pending dues and levies.

By an order dated 9th January, 2017 the High Court had directed the government to grant renewal of the license to the company within four weeks. However, due to the state assembly elections scheduled on 4th February and the Model Code of Conduct imposed by the Election Commission, the state government claimed that it could not take any new policy decision until the election results on 11th March and formation of a new government thereafter.

Consequently, the state government kept the decision on hold and did not act as per the orders of the High Court. GGHPL thereafter filed a fresh writ petition before the High Court which prompted the court to note on 8th March that the Model Code of Conduct did not come into way of the state government taking a decision on renewal of the license and directed the government to grant a license to the company within 24 hours.

The court also relied on the assertion by the Advocate General of Goa that the government had no objection to grant the license except to GGHPL except for the fact that the Model Code of Conduct is currently in force.

As reported by us earlier, it is possible that the Gopal Kanda-led MDLR group will either partner with or sell stake in its company to Essel Group. Essel Group has been unsuccessfully trying to setup an offshore casino in Goa for the past decade under the brand name of ‘Casino Maharaja’ and has all logistics and vessel ready for operating a casino.

Jay has researched extensively on gaming laws and has been cited by various media houses and journals as an expert. He has helped leading newspapers in their stories on gaming laws. Jay completed his B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) degree from NUJS, Kolkata in 2015 and is currently based out of Mumbai.