The draft Goa Public Gambling Rules, 2022, to regulate the functioning of casino operations, are currently being examined by the finance department reported Times of India.
In April, we reported that the Home Department (the nodal department for casinos currently) has finalized its casino rules and submitted them to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant for final approval. CM Sawant also holds the finance portfolio.
The rules are also expected to implement a ban on goans from entering casinos, a proposal was first mooted in 2012. The Bombay High Court in October last year had upheld the ban on locals.
Once the rules come into force, the gaming commissioner will have the power to issue entry tickets to casinos, a role currently played by the operators themselves.
The proposed rules also give the commissioner the right to order closure to seal any casino in a five-star hotel or to take custody of any casino vessel if there are violations.
Also, the gaming commissioner will maintain a record of the number of visitors. “The next day, the gaming commissioner will be able to check the inventory to find how many people entered a casino,” a senior official was quoted by Times of India.
Despite appointing the Gaming Commissioner more than three years ago in March 2019, the absence of any framed rules has until now meant that his duties were not defined.
The casino licencing and collection of annual recurring fees is currently handled by the home department, and once the rules are implemented, the gaming commissioner will monitor the casino operations.
In case of any complaint, the home department looks into it currently, but once the rules are notified, the gaming commissioner will be empowered to take cognisance and act accordingly, the official added according to ToI.