Casinos in Goa catch a break - gaming commision to be set

25 July 2013

After all the tension of past months, Goa casino industry can smile again. By defect, live poker in India and India poker players have a reason to be happy.

Goa´s Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who ´s anti-casino stand is publicly known and we echoed few weeks back in the article "difficult times ahead for casinos in goa", said recently that he would not close casinos in Goa as he cannot afford to lose revenues worth Rs 150 crore.

 "I get Rs 150 crore worth of revenue from casinos. Although I am personally against them, how will I be compensated if I close them," Parrikar said at a meeting of Goa Small Industries Association.       

Parrikar had opposed the casinos when he was Leader of Opposition in the previous term of the assembly. He said that there was a liability of Rs 1,500 crore when the BJP-led government took over the reins of the state from Congress last year.

Also, Parrikar announced the set up of a gaming commission. According to Parrikar, a gaming commission to regulate operations of both onshore and offshore casinos will ensure that the gambling operations play by the rules defined by the state and not by the 'house', a term conventionally used to describe a casino's back-end operation. The commission will be in place by August according to Parrikar.

Despite consistent demands of the civil community in Goa, and although such commission was announced on 2010, sadly, for this commission to gain momentum it took the death of 20-year-old Sai Dhanush, a youngster from Hyderabad, who by the existing laws should have been barred from entering casinos in Goa (entry under the age of 21 is barred), and fell from a second level of an offshore casino vessel and was drowned.

Below are a few statements by the officials involved in drafting the Goa gaming commission:

"It will be a body which will act as a regulator, which will evolve casino norms on a par with world standards and through constant checks and inspections ensure that the norms are followed. It will also have penalizing powers,"
"Every casino operation will have to give an undertaking in writing about the payout ratio and the commission will ensure that it is maintained.”

Fair regulation and clarity is always good, so we welcome the news and hope the situation keeps evolving so we can have poker in India for many years, in a regulated and safe manner. 
Also, for casinos and the overall gaming industry, it is the best way to generate confidence, increase their traffic in their operations, and aim at higher challenges in alliance with international brands and other India poker initiatives.


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