Indian Government Criticized for Allowing Casino License Transfers

By Dhanu Delphi on February 23, 2014

The Indian government in Panaji has come under fire for allowing the transfer of casino licenses. The Goa Su-Raj Party (GSRP) and the Aam Admi Aur Aurat Against Gambling (AAAAG) said that the government is not honouring its commitment to phase out casinos as promised and the AAAAG reminded Chief Minister Monohar Parrikar that he had assured the public that he would work hard to reduce the “negative” affects of casino gambling in Goa.

In a press release put out by AAAAG, Sabina Martins of the party said about the situation: “Parrikar has permitted a smaller casino ship to be replaced by a bigger ship while announcing that he will bring out legislations and rules to protect the people of Goa, but it has not yet happened.”

The AAAAG said that casino advertising should be banned during the carnival parade since they would be seen by children and other vulnerable segments of society. The group also urged civic bodies to refuse sponsorship from casinos.

The Goa BJP rubbished claims that it was in favour of casino ownership transfer policy. The party dismissed charges by Congress state president John Fernandes that BJP had given the green light for the transfer of casino licenses from one owner to another.

Responding to this BJP spokesperson, Wilfrid Mesquita’s claim that the BJP does not support the transfer of casino license, the GSRP said: “If the …BJP government does amend the casino laws to allow for transfer of casino licenses, will he (Mesquita) quit the BJP and join the GSRP?”

Analysts believe that the casino laws will be changed to allow bigger corporations such as Zee Group and Sahara Group to enter the casino market in Goa.

After facing criticism on casino license transfer policies, Manohar Parrikar told reporters late last week that he was actually unsure about the details of the new rules. “The new rules are being drafted and are currently been vetted by the Law department. I can’t remember what new rules speak about… whether there is provision (for transfer) or not,” he said.