Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant told the legislative assembly today that a new casino policy is under consideration of the government.
Sawant gave the response in reply to a starred question raised by former Goa Chief Minister and current leader of opposition Digambar Kamat. Sawant also replied that the drafting of rules for formation of a Gaming Commission to regulate casinos in the state is also under consideration of the government and will be finalised soon.
He further said that the cabinet had given eight extensions of six months each to offshore casinos to shift away from the River Mandovi after an in-principle decision was taken to remove offshore casinos from their current location in 2015.
On being asked a pointed question about the reasons for non-compliance of the timelines for shifting casinos out of the River Mandovi, previously assured by the state government, the Chief Minister replied that ‘the government has decided to remove casinos from the River Mandovi but till today no alternate feasible site has been finalized’.
Sawant gave a similar reply to Congress MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco’s starred question on offshore casinos in the vidhan sabha today and stated that the riverboats will be shifted out of River Mandovi upon finalization of a feasible alternate site.
The Goa government had earlier given a similar response to Lourenco’s unstarred question in the house last week.
The new Goa chief minister has been non-committal on the issue of bringing a new casino policy, as promised by his predecessor Manohar Parrikar, In an interview to a local media house just after assuming office in March this year, Sawant had said that he would take some time to study the proposed draft of the casino policy and revert with his stand on the issue in some time.