The 31st March deadline to move the Goa offshore casinos out of the Mandovi River is fast approaching. It does not appear that either the casinos or the government have found a new location for the casinos.
There are many who believe that the government will not make the casinos leave at this time. The Goa government has proposed that the entry fee to the casino vessels should be raised in order to help the state budget. The proposal suggested that the entry fees be adjusted to Rs 1,000 up from Rs 700.
The government has not yet announced what will happen once March comes to an end, and the deadline arrives. When Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar was questioned regarding the Mandovi River casinos, he said that a cabinet decision will be made at the end of the month.
The offshore casinos had been given another seven months to continue operating in the same location, and there are those who wonder if the deadline will, once again, be extended at the last minute.
The state government counts on the income from the Goa casinos. Chief Minister Parsekar noted: “Just note that only the licence fee runs up to lakhs, besides, there are taxes, VAT, entry fee and other components which are too huge to be ignored by a state that has been highly affected by the mediocre tourist turnout in recent years and near-dead mining activity.”
Although the future of the offshore casinos is not yet settled, there have been new applications for casino licenses in Goa. The applications have come from an additional six casino operators, and have been for both land-based and offshore casino operating licenses. Noted amongst the other applications is that from Vijay Mallya’s UB Infrastructure Projects Limited.
Only time will tell what the future of Goa’s offshore casinos have in store for them.