After failing to identity an alternate site to relocate offshore casinos, the state government has extended permission to five vessels to continue operations from the Mandovi river by three months. However, in another development, casino vessel M V Lucky Seven, promoted by Golden Globe Hotel Private Limited, has been given permission to enter the river Mandovi.
This will be the sixth offshore casino to operate on Mandovi river. The five other casinos are owened by Delta Corp Ltd, Goa Coastal Resorts and Recreation Pvt Ltd, Highstreet Cruises and Entertainment, Golden Peace Infrastructure Pvt Ltd and Delta Pleasure Cruise Company.
The state government has informed the High Court of Bombay at Goa that it will give permission to the sixth casino. In accordance the High Court had said that the Captain of Ports shall proceed to grant the necessary permission to have the vessel at the place earmarked and fixed by the Captain of Ports.
In regard to the extension granted to the five other casinos, a notification was issued stating that offshore casinos can continue to remain in the Mandovi river till September 30, 2017, instead of June 30, 2017.
Earlier, the cabinet had resolved not to renew offshore casino licences expiring after March 31, 2014, for operations in the current location, but in a cabinet meeting in March 2014, licences of offshore casinos expiring on or before March 31, 2014, were renewed by two years to allow them time to make alternate arrangements to move out of the Mandovi river.
Subsequently, the government started looking for alternate sites and locations were even identified in the Aguada bay, and Zuari, Chapora and Sal rivers. But, the proposal to shift the vessels never saw light of day during the last two years. In fact, the proposal was shot down on grounds on non-viability.
After the BJP-led government took charge in March, chief minister Manohar Parrikar had said that his government is committed to moving casinos out of the Mandovi river, but only after an alternate site was identified. BJP coalition partners had also demanded that offshore casinos be moved out of the Mandovi river.
In its recently announced common minimum programme, the state government has stated that floating casinos will be shifted from their current location.