With demands to shut offshore casinos in Goa unending, and the legislators debating the future of offshore casinos in the coastal state, the state cabinet on Wednesday granted a six-month extension for offshore Goa casinos during which time they would have to relocate.
“The Council of Ministers resolved to grant an extension of time limit to the offshore casino-licensees for relocating casinos from the Mandovi river for six months from October 1 to March 31 or till an alternate feasible site is finalized, whichever is earlier,” a government spokesperson said.
At present, there are five offshore casinos in Goa floating off the shores of the Mandovi river.
The Goa government has been under a lot of flak for not delivering on its pre-poll promises. All political parties promised to shut offshore casinos in their election manifesto as they went into Panaji by-polls earlier this year in May.
Despite popular opinion to have offshore casinos shut, Goa CM Pramod Sawant has justified the casinos in the state and said that they are crucial for fostering tourism.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that he believes that tourism is the backbone of Goa’s economy and casinos attract tourists. He explained that the state is benefitting by collecting both direct and indirect revenues from the flourishing tourism industry, thanks to Goa’s casinos.