Goa to start taking strict action against illegal gambling activities from today

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In his latest public address on Friday, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant reassured that the state government’s Home Department will be taking strict action against illegal gambling activities taking place in the state, starting today.

Sawant held a live, phone-in programme called ‘Hello Goenkar’ on Doordarshan-Panaji yesterday. As part of it a person named Pritam Harmalkar brought up the matter of gambling activities taking place in the temple town of Ponda and asked for necessary action.

“Gambling activities like ‘Matka’ are going on openly along the roadside. Recently people complained about mini casinos, which were raided… but their operations have started again here,” Harmalkar said.

Addressing the concern, Sawant reassured him. “Not only in Ponda, but action will be taken on such gambling activities wherever they are going on. I am instructing the department to take action from tomorrow,” he said as reported by Daiji World.

The matter was raised earlier this year in March during the assembly session where Sawant promised that his government will work on shutting down illegal casinos in the state. The MLA for the Goa Forward Party Vijai Sardesai, who has been vocal about the presence of illegal casinos in the state for some time now, had brought up the topic.

A couple of weeks later, Sardesai brought up the matter again claiming that the casinos were had only been temporarily shut down and have resumed operations. He requested another thorough investigation in the matter.

The Goa state government has also drafted Goa Public Gambling Rules, 2022 for casino regulation. Under the new rules, among many, the gaming commissioner will be able to check inventory and the number of people visiting the casinos. They will also have the power to close down casinos and hotels in case of violation. The new rules are likely to be notified within the next two months.