Tuesday 18 June 2024

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Economy | Tourism

Guv gives assent, but assures to advise Govt on casino concerns


Goa governor has already given assent to the Goa Public Gambling amendment bill, but has assured to advise the government on the concerns raised by citizens on amending the acts related to casinos in Goa.

A delegation of Aaam Aurat Admi Against Gambling met the Govenor B V Wanchoo to request him not to assent to the Goa Public Gambling Amendment Bill that was passed in the Goa Legislative Assembly in August.

The Governor stated that he had already given assent to the Bill and that he will study the issues raised and accordingly advise the Government.

The delegation comprised of Convenor Sabina Martins, co-convenors Anand Madgavkar and Rui Fereira and Fr Savio Fernandes Secretary of Council for Social Justice.

AAAAG informed the Governor that after his assent there is no authority to check the illegalities of the casinos as the powers of the lower courts to hear casino cases have been removed in the Amended Act.

As of today there is no Gaming Commissioner and hence the casinos are given a free hand by the government to violate all laws. The Act does not have a time frame to make rules.

AAAAG informed the Governor that the Chief minister is granting special favours to the casino industry by making them above law.

The CM has also reduced the fees from Rs 2000 to Rs 500 and the tax structure to favour big casinos.

In the amended Act the government can notify as many casinos in as many places designated by the government, which will defeat the objective of the Principal Goa Public Gambling Act to curb gambling.

AAAAG delegation impressed upon the Governor that the gaming was permitted on offshore vessel hence all casino vessels in the rivers are illegal.

With the new Amended Act vessels will be permitted in inland waters by taking permission from Captain of Ports.

The Act does not provide for gaming in inland waters and hence gaming in vessels in inland waters is illegal.

It was also pointed out that under the Goa Children’s Act any promotional material for alcohol, tobacco and gambling is a crime and hence the advertisement of gaming is violation of law and hence has to be stopped forth with.

The Governor gave a patient hearing to the delegation and assured that he will study the points raised and advise the government accordingly.

He would take necessary steps in the interest of the people of Goa when it was pointed out that gambling brought alcoholism, prostitution, trafficking, money laundering, dacoity, destitution, privatization of public jetties, parking blockades of residences etc AAAAG has decided to go ahead with its agitation demanding  repeal of the amendments to favour casinos and gambling in the state.

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