Goa Government Make Surprise U-Turn And Supports Casino Industry
An official Goa tourism promotion video has become mired with controversy after it highlighted the state’s casino industry. The reason why the tourist video has caused a stir is because the ruling BJP government had earlier taken a stance against the casino industry in the state. Goa remains the only state in India to have a thriving offshore and onshore casino industry in the largely gambling-restricted country.
The reigning BJP government has been lambasted by other parties for signing off on the said tourism campaign. They find the state government going back and forth on its views concerning gambling in the state.
The state government has remained largely indecisive in its stance on gambling in the popular tourist destination. Just a few years ago, the Goa government expressed its plans to dismantle the local gaming industry, intending to not renew casino licenses in the area once they expire. However, no concrete actions have been made to implement this stance.
Pundits have seen the inclusion of casinos in Goa’s official tourism video as a gesture that the ruling state government has no intentions to shut down the gambling industry in the near future.
Goa Chief Minister Defends Casino Industry
Goa CM Pramod Sawant has been forced to comment on the controversial promotional video. CM Sawant defended the promo video by saying that there is a need to promote every activity in Goa that a potential tourist can enjoy and that included casinos. He also underscored the importance of the casino industry in bringing in tourists to the state and its contribution to the development of the state.
The Chief Minister made his stance clear by confirming that his government cannot fully shut down the casino industry as it would result in a loss of tourists and potential revenue. Sawant echoed that though the administration has taken a tough stance on gambling in the past, the government cannot deny the benefits that Goa’s casino industry brought to the state. The casino industry is responsible for bolstering tourism, generates substantial taxes, and offers employment to many locals.
Casino operators in Goa will be happy to see the sudden U-turn the state government has taken. They will also be interested to see the new Goa Casino Policy that is expected to be rolled out shortly along with the formation of a gaming commission that will oversee the casino industry in Goa.
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