Even as casinos are in full strength at the venue hosting Goa’s first International Travel Mart, officials were coy about them and clarified that the government was not promoting casino tourism.
Goa Tourism Development Corporation Managing Director Nikhil Dessai even asserted that casinos do not feature in the official promotional matter prepared by the government.
This despite the fact that Goa is the only State in the country that has off-shore casinos which do attract visitors as evident from the fact that gaming tables put by the casino operators in Goa at the ITM venue attract large crowds.
Justifying the presence of the gaming tables at the venue, Nikhil said that the stalls were allotted on ‘first come first serve basis’ and as Casinos were licensed in Goa, their promoters were given the stalls.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation Managing Director Kiran Kurandkar said that the Maharashtra Government was not in favour of promoting casino-tourism. However, Karnataka is still undecided over the issue.