In September, the cabinet decided that the deadline to relocate the Goa offshore casinos would be extended until 31st March 2016. The date is fast approaching, and it appears that no alternative venue has been found.
Local protests have demanded that the floating casinos be removed from the Mandovi River for some time. Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar had said that either the casinos would find a new location by 31st March, or the government would instruct the casinos to relocate to a set location. At this time, no move has been made towards moving the casinos by either the government or the casinos themselves.
It does appear that the casinos have been trying to find a new location. An unnamed source connected to the casino operators has said that the casinos tried to find a location further away, however “on trial, the wager was found to be unsteady, it affected the business operations, and was therefore abandoned.”
A member of the AAAAG (Aam Auraat Aaadmi Against Gambling), Sabina Martin, said that in 2012, the BJP, which was the leadership at the time, under Manohar Parrikar’s leadership, had made an election promise that the Goa casinos would be uprooted, however, it never took place.
Martine explained: “For the past four years they have been only stalling the matter. Even this time, we feel the stalemate will continue.”
The state leadership, however, is concerned that shutting down the casinos will lead to serious financial problems in Goa. Tourism is down, and the mining activity is almost non-existent. The offshore casinos on the Mandovi River, however, continue to generate revenue for the state through taxation and licensing income.
The four casino vessels that are currently located on the Mandovi River are MV Horseshoe (Deltin Royale Casino), MV Boa Sorte (Casino Pride 2), MV Casino Royale (Deltin JAQK), and MV Pride of Goa (Casino Pride).
At this time, we do not know if the state will officially extend the deadline again, although it is quite likely that they will.