Not Ready to Restart Casinos Amid Covid-19: Goa Govt

Author : Anurag Manoranjan

Last Updated: August 11, 2021     Published: August 11, 2021

In the midst of the growing Covid-19 epidemic, Goa’s chief minister, Pramod Sawant, stated on Monday that the state of Goa has no plans to operate casinos. The curfew was also extended by the state government until August 16, 2021. With no further relaxations, this stringency is a measure to restrict the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.He said, “till now, there is no decision on restarting casino operations in the state.” 

Additionally, for individuals arriving from Kerala, a negative RT-PCR report is required.

Goa is considering changing its gambling law to make it more difficult for casinos to avoid paying fines.

According to the Times of India, the state government of Goa has decided to levy hefty fines on any casino found to be in violation of the Goa Gambling Act. In the case of serious breaches, the penalty may include imprisonment. The administration intends to present this measure during the upcoming assembly session, which begins next week.

In the state, there are six offshore casinos and dozens of onshore casinos. The state’s casinos have been closed for the past three months.

In its most recent curfew order, the state government permitted pubs and restaurants to operate at 50 percent capacity until 11 p.m.

Casinos, auditoriums, river cruises, spa and massage parlors, cinema halls and multiplexes, and educational and coaching facilities for students remain closed under the new curfew (except for examinations of students and holding competitive examinations with approval of the government).

Even coaching establishments have been barred from reopening unless they are used to conduct government-approved competitive tests.

According to a senior official, the previous fee was little, but the new measure would inflict significant penalties. The nature of the penalty, however, is not specified in the law. In Goa, there are now six offshore casinos and a number of onshore casinos. In addition, the bill amends the Act’s Sections 3, 4, and 11 that deal with penalties and imprisonment.

“The quantity of fine due under the criminal provisions of Sections 3, 4 and 11 is inadequate, and therefore requires enhancement,” according to a cabinet note. And, as a result, the offenses punishable under the stated provisions will be punished by either imprisonment or a fine, or both.”

The Goa Gambling Act was enacted in 1976 when Goa was a Union Territory. On May 30, 1987, Goa was elevated to the rank of a state. With this modification, the cabinet would remove the expressions “Daman and Diu” and “Union Territory” from the law when it is approved.

From February 1, 2020, the state government had notified the Goa Public Gaming (Amendment) Act, 2012, prohibiting Goans from entering the six offshore and nine onshore casinos.

The government designated the commissioner of commercial tax as a gaming commissioner under this amendment to take notice and check whether any Goans are gambling in the stated casinos.