There is some relief for one of Goa’s main tourism revenue generators – its casinos. One of the few states where casinos have been functional in India, the casinos in the state reopened since 1 November and have been doing good business since then. The Goa government has now granted an extension of six months to the off-shore casinos operating on Mandovi River in Panaji.
Vessels with casinos that are anchored to Mandovi River can continue their operations for another six months from 31 March to 30 September, the Goa government said.
Currently, there are six off-shore casinos on the Mandovi river. Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant said the state cabinet has granted the extension for off-shore casinos to remain in Mandovi river till an alternate location is recommended to them.
Earlier, the state government led by late Manohar Parrikar had said that off-shore casinos would be moved out of the river to another location owing to the opposition from locals and NGOs.
Goa ports minister Michael Lobo said that casino industry helps Goa’s economy and generates employment. “We get revenue from the casinos after charging fees for annual renewal of their licence. In addition, we also get revenue in the form of GST from them. Every year the renewal fee is levied by departments like Excise, Food and Drugs Administration and others,” Lobo said.
This move is expected to boost tourism to the state.