While there may not be any official statistics to back it up, it seems fairly clear that more than 90% of the players who gamble at the onshore casinos in Goa are in fact Goans. Although there are no government statistics regarding this number, it is certainly the opinion of a number of industry insiders.
An industry insider, based in South Goa, who has been part of the gambling world for the past seven years, had the following to say: “Our transaction records, including credit card details and CCTV footage, show very clearly that the number of customers gambling are overwhelming locals.”
He also noted that the Goans who are gambling in the onshore casinos are both male and female, and also includes those who are employed and those who are not employed. He explained that there are gamblers from all professions, including doctors, politicians, students, and those who work in office jobs, amongst others.
On 8th August 2012, an amendment to the Goa Public Gaming Act of 1976, was passed by the state legislative assembly. The amendment gave the government the power by which it could restrict the entry to locals and others who were under the age of 21 years.
While this law has been passed, it has not yet been enforced. A source in the government noted: “The government is yet to frame the rules to implement the bill.”
The government still needs to appoint a gaming commissioner in the state government that will have the power to deal with any cases of non-compliance.
The convener of Aam Admi Aurat Against Gambling, Sabina Martins, said: “We are totally circumspect about this bill banning Goans from entering casinos.”
Martins is concerned that by instituting a gaming commissioner instead of using the lower courts to deal with gambling illegalities is not positive. Martins questions whether this gaming commissioner will be a “judicial person or a government appointee who will see that the rules preventing Goans from gambling in casinos is enforced?”