Indian State Govt Tightens Casino Laws In Line With Macau

Goa which is one of the three states to have legalized gambling in India has redrafted portions of its gaming laws wherein it has adopted the approach followed by the Macau government.

Macau which is a part of the People’s Republic of China is the biggest gambling hub in the world.

A local media report has stated that the Goa administration is now awaiting the legal opinion of the state’s Advocate General Saresh Lotlikar before enforcing it. It was first reported in late 2016 that the state home department was reworking the state’s prevailing gaming law.

The move was prompted by the realization that several terms in the Goa Public Gambling (Amendment) Act, 1976, had been left undefined including casino, area, offshore, electronic gaming, offshore & offshore casino, live gaming, and passenger capacity.

During the redrafting the home department also decided to incorporate rules similar to ones in Macau with respect to monitoring of casino operations. According to an official from the state home department, the government adopted the Macau model in order to ensure close monitoring of onshore and offshore casino operations in the state.

In a statement, the state official said

We have redrafted rules based on Macau casino rules to specify how to maintain the record of customers visiting the casinos, what should be the quality of CCTV cameras, how many days CCTV footage should be stored, among other things.

The new provisions will also empower the state government to appoint a gaming commissioner, who could either be a government officer or a private citizen. If a private individual is appointed as the commissioner, the rules require the official to be provided with necessary infrastructure by the government including staff members. The commissioner appointed could also be a government administrator like a collector, commercial tax commissioner or excise commissioner.

The new rules are slated to be notified after the Advocate General gives his opinion. Under the draft amendments made in 2015 to the gaming law, Goan residents would be barred from entering casinos apart from the purposes of employment. The then-chief minister Manohar Parrikar who is currently the country’s defence minister had said that the rule would stop locals from getting into gambling.

The state has 11 operational brick-and- mortar gaming facilities and five offshore casinos. Goa is on the brink of local elections and the current opposition party, the Indian National Congress has threatened to ban casinos. The opposition members are accusing casino operators of cheating the state government of tax revenues worth INR45,000 crore ($6.62 billion).