Responding to the demands for grants of the Home Department in the assembly, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Monday clarified that the state government will not grant permission for any new offshore casinos now.
Opposition leader Yuri Alemao had claimed that a jetty was coming up along the Chapora river, with casino services on offer. Sawant denied the claims, informing that jetties are coming up to ferry passengers and requested the opposition not to create panic among people.
As reported by The Navhind Times, the CM also promised that the government will shut down all illegal casinos being operated from villages. He also said that the GST department will investigate an alleged casino scam amounting to Rs 10,000 crore.
Sawant recently revealed that the state had generated Rs 936.64 crore in revenue between April 1, 2019, and July 15, 2023, from casinos. The casinos serve as an important source of revenue for the state. There are currently 17 casinos in the state, six out of them are offshore ones. The license fee from these offshore casinos currently amount to Rs 187 crore annually.
Goa Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho recently spoke in support of the casino industry, saying that the GST Council’s decision will negatively impact the industry and hamper fresh investment. He further said that he asked the CM to take up the matter and request the Council to reconsider the decision.
In response to it, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) General Secretary Vijay Bhike criticized Godinho, stating that he has “fallen in love” with the casino industry. He further advised the government to focus on lowering GST on essential commodities.
Bhike argued that the casinos make a large amount of money which needs to be taxed.
“When the casino lobby in Goa has not come out publicly against the decision of the GST Council, why the government is eager to rush to its help?,” he questioned.