Hasiba Amin, state NSUI president, said that youngsters are being lured by the glamorous casino culture and they should be stopped right away, or measures should be taken to ensure that the age-bar on entry should be hiked to at least 25 years.
“Yesterday’s (Sunday’s) incident is just one such example. The age bar should be increased, so that youngsters are dissuaded from entering gambling operations,” Amin said.
Dhanush Sai, 20, a resident of Andhra Pradesh, Sunday fell off MV Boa Sorte, a vessel operated by Casino Carnival. A complaint was filed on Monday with penal provisions for endangering life or personal safety, police said.
Dhanush, along with two other friends, was on a holiday in Goa and on Sunday decided to visit the casino vessel, located off Panaji, police said.
“Witnesses said that he slipped from the second level of the boat. It was raining and the area was slippery. His friend dived in after him, but the body could not be found,” a police official said.
The body was traced only Monday evening, more than a day after the incident occurred.
The casino management said all safety measures mandated by the state government were in place on the vessel. In a statement issued Monday, a company official said that casino officials were fully co-operating with police.
“At this moment, our thoughts are with the family of the person who is missing. Casino Carnival follows strict code of safety,” a spokesperson said, adding that all stipulated licences and safety procedures mandated by law were in place.
Incidentally, in August last year, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar barred persons below the age of 21 from entering the casino’s gaming areas by amending the Goa Public Gambling (Amendment) Bill 2012. The amendment also made it mandatory for casino operators to check the age of their patrons before allowing them to set foot near the gambling stations.
Goa has four functioning offshore casinos parked in the Mandovi River and nearly a dozen onshore casinos housed in the numerous five-star resorts dotting the beach state.