Goa Assembly: MLA raises questions on Sri Lankan casino ads at the airport, AAI takes down the banners

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Goa Forward Party leader and MLA from Fatorda constituency Vijai Sardesai recently raised the issue of promotional banners by Sri Lankan casinos at the Goa airport.

The former minister said such ads in the state are violation of Section 12 of the Gambling Act. Under this section, police can arrest any person who prints, publishes, sells, distributes without permission any newspaper or any document or any news or information which aids, encourages or facilitates, gaming.

The former minister also said his party has given a representation on these ads to Home Secretary of Goa. The ads are now taken down by the Airports Authority of India. The leader who was earlier part of an alliance with ruling BJP asked the government what actions are taken on mushrooming gambling ads.

It is worth noting that Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant in the assembly recently said he will take action against online rummy apps. He was responding to a zero-hour query in the assembly raised by Congress MLA Sankalp Amonkar representing the Mormugao constituency.

Amonkar had claimed that online gambling was “dangerous” for youth. The MLA had said, “Many governments have banned it and hence, the Goa government should also ban online Rummy Circle gaming.”

Operation of casinos is a regulated activity in the state and only licensed entities can undertake the games of chance activities. However, online gambling in any form is not permitted.

The casino industry in Goa has seen a complete washout of two quarters two quarters last financial year. At the same time, online casinos began mushrooming. Casinos that closed in March-April 2021 in the backdrop of the second wave, reopened in September 2021.