Casinos on Goa border, Karnataka minister proposes

Published on:

Uttara Kannada district should have casinos to attract tourists, said in-charge minister Shivaram Hebbar on Monday. The minister speaking at the Karnataka Rajyotsava programme said residents and the media should support this move. The district borders Goa on the North.

Hebbar said that although the district has great potential for tourism development, it had not been explored by successive governments. Neighbouring Goa, which is smaller in area and population compared to Uttara Kannada district, attracted a large number of tourists across the globe. “The main income source of that state is tourism and we should be in a position to compete with them,” the minister was quoted by Times of India.

In 2016, the Karnataka tourism department proposed setting up offshore casinos in Karwar followed by Uttara and Dakshina Kannada districts which were opposed by the then opposition party BJP. The then tourism minister Priyank M Kharge (current Congress MLA) in 2016 said, “Two agencies have come forward to run offshore casinos on the lines of those in Goa, but we are treading cautiously. A move to launch casinos may generate opposition since the state has already banned lottery and gambling. In the next few days, we will discuss legalizing offshore casinos.” The proposal could not be implemented during the Siddaramaiah government. When reminded that the BJP had opposed the same proposal during the Congress government, Hebbar said that it was true. But stances change with time, he added.

With an airport coming up near Karwar, the coastal areas of Uttara Kannada can attract a large number of tourists from different countries. So, setting up casinos in the sea is important, Hebbar said. It can be done with the participation of private parties. Hotel, water adventures, forest and water tourism can be increased, he said.

One cannot stop people from spending money in casinos. People from Uttara Kannada and other districts go to Goa and spend it in casinos. So, if we set up casinos here, money will be spent in our district,” he said. Interestingly, the entry of natives into Goa casinos is banned by the Goa government.