Newly appointed Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has indicated that he has not yet decided his approach towards offshore casinos in the state and noted that he will need some time to decide the state government’s attitude towards the gaming industry in the state.
Sawant, in an interview to The Times of India, when asked a pointed question on the draft casino policy framed by his predecessor Manohar Parrikar (which was on the verge of finalisation), that envisaged shifting of offshore casinos from River Mandovi to a designated area on land, responded by stating that he cannot comment on the issue without studying the subject.
He added that he will have a look at the draft casino policy framed by the state government. He further assured the newspaper that he will study the subject carefully and revert with his stand in the days to come.
Sawant succeeded Parrikar as the 13th Chief Minister of Goa after Parrikar passed away on 17th March following a prolonged illness.
In August 2018, Parrikar had announced on the floor of the legislative assembly that the state government would within the next one month, be framing a policy to shift offshore casinos to a designated area on land within the next four years. He had also stated that long term licenses of 10-15 years will be granted to casino companies that agree to shift out of River Mandovi.
The casino policy as envisaged by Parrikar would also have included appointment of a Gaming Commissioner to oversee casino activities in the state and banning local Goans from playing in casinos.
Due to Parrikar’s sustained illness over the past one year, the finalisation and notification of the casino policy could not be completed, which compelled the Goa cabinet to grant a six month extension to offshore casinos to continue functioning from the River Mandovi.