PORVORIM: Chief minister , on Friday said he will come out with a by August end wherein areas will be identified and notified where offshore casinos dotting the river Mandovi can be shifted to. The casinos will also be allowed a maximum of four years to shift.
Parrikar said that since three of his ministers were not in a position to reply to queries regarding their ministries, he had taken on their workload due to which the casino policy could not be vetted earlier.
He further said that under the new policy, licenses of offshore casinos would be renewed, provided they declare their willingness to shift operations to the designated zones within a year from the date of the declaration of the policy. Thereafter, he said, they will be granted four years for the shifting process.
“Taking into account the huge investment involved in such projects, licenses for casino operations in designated zones could be consider for a tenure of 10 to 15 years,” Parrikar further said
Meanwhile, referring to the issue of the gaming commission, he said that the same will be appointed by December-end. “As a policy, Goans will not be permitted to enter the playing areas. A mechanism in this regard will be put in place once the gaming commissioner is appointed and appropriate rules for regulation formulated,” Parrikar said.
He also said that if required, a clause authorizing the removal of the word offshore casinos from the act by legislature method could be initiated.
There are six offshore casinos operating in the river Mandovi and dozens of onshore casinos operating across the state. Aiming to increase state revenue, the state government recently hiked licensing fees by up to 4.5 times for both, offshore and onshore casinos. Initially casino operators resisted the fee hike, but later started paying the increased fee.
Meanwhile, a senior officer, who is part of the team drafting the casino policy said the state would not have any objection if offshore casinos moved operations close to the upcoming Mopa airport. Under the concession between GMR, which is constructing the greenfield , and the government, land has been already acquired and earmarked for business activities.
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