India’s constitutional policies and laws are similar to that of the United States as the powers are distributed among the central and state governments. And when it comes to casinos, the central government in India doesn’t have a proper say as the decision-making power lies at state governments’ hands. That’s the reason behind Goa, Sikkim, and Daman being the only states where offline casinos are not prohibited.
The shifting of offshore casinos in Goa has been pending for an extended period. According to the reports, the shift is being elevated due to locals’ complaints. The locals complained regarding the noise pollution of casinos that run 24/7. Besides, the state government has been deliberated since 2017 to come to a policy amendment regarding casino policy. Perhaps, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has recently announced that the casino policy is under consideration of the government, and soon a decision would be taken.
In a written reply to Digambar Kamat – the opposition leader to CM Pramod Sawant, the CM mentioned, “The draft rules stipulating powers and duties of the gaming commissioner are also under the consideration of the government.”
Will the offshore casinos shift to other locations?
Given the current scenario and records, the state government has also been unable to appoint a gaming commissioner to look into the gambling acts and others. Sawant also answered a question related to the shifting of offshore casinos to different lands. In his reply, Sawant explained that the license of offshore casinos is extended till 31st March. Also, the shifting or relocation of offshore casinos is being contemplated and examined. Sawant mentioned that the Captain of Ports had proposed various locations, but the government is yet to conclude (on the same).
Drawing a situation out of the statement is proportional to the CM’s announcement. Casinos have been awaiting results for the past 2 to 3 years. Taking the casinos’ business curve into consideration, it has also seen a slowdown due to the “state of flux.”
The offshore casinos are based at Mandovi, which is very close to residential areas. There are certain complications in shifting the offshore casinos to a new location because only offshore casinos can host live games. The state government must amend the Goa Public Gambling Act to conduct the same live games in the upcoming areas.
Similarly, banning the residents from entering the offshore casinos would require reconsidering the Goa Public Gambling Act (as an amendment would be necessary).
However, former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had assured that Goa locals or residents would be prohibited from entering inside casinos by making changes in the Gambling Act.
At present, there are seven offshore casinos in Goa and various onshore casinos, operating within 5-star hotels and palaces. 2 other states that have banned its public from playing even online casino games are Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.