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The Casino Games…

In a Budget, which was otherwise progressive and much needed; the Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar seems to have opened up a can of worms with regards to the Casino Entry Fee.

Casinos in its right is a form of entertainment for many tourists and locals alike. However, when the entertainment factor of Casino ends, the vice of gambling comes to the fore.

And like all vices, besides being the moral responsibility of an individual; it is also becomes a pertinent social responsibility of a government to curb its growth and impact on the social fabric of the state.

While I agree to the CMs stand on restricting the entry on the basis of age – which has now been raised to 21 years. The question is how do we keep locals from visiting the Casinos. And the ‘mechanism’ which the CM talks about is not even put in place so when his government reduces the ‘Casino Entry Fee’ from Rs 2000 to Rs 500, it is making Casino accessible, not only to tourist but locals as well.

I don’t agree with the logic that we can allow Casinos as long as our locals don’t partake of its entertainment and vice. Using that logic – prostitution, sex massage parlors and other bad seeds of tourism should also be allowed and encouraged since some tourists want it, as long as we keep our locals away from these vices. But we all know that if we allow prostitution or sex massage parlors then Goa is heading the route of Bangkok or Pattaya.

If the aim is to allow the rich tourists to spend their money, then the fact that he has brought down the ‘Casino Entry Fee’ is contradictory considering this reality that for the rich tourist paying Rs 2000 will never be a problem, so why reduce it to Rs 500 and now make it accessible to the even not so rich. Instead, he should have increased it to Rs 3000.

Charging Casion operators Rs 6.5 crore for their license fee really does nothing to their coffers and that raise a mere Rs 1.5 crore more than their previous Rs 5 crore. A casino in our investigations on an average makes Rs 3 crore a day; it is fact that has got the Intelligence Bureau and Enforcement Directorate keeping a close watch on Casino operations in the state. More so the rising use of counterfeit currency in Casinos and an avenue for money laundering has also put the Casinos under the scanner of ED and IB.

Casinos was one of the pet punching bag of the CM when he was in Opposition; so it is indeed surprising that he has taken a route that is questionable on the Casino issue. There is no middle-path on such issues, you are either for it or against it.

Mr Parrikar, I reiterate let’s not make Goa a Singapore or Macau; Goa has its charm which is its traditional tourism and its appeal. Concentrate on issues such as infrastructure, services, garbage menace, shack owner mafias, taxi driver mafias and drug cartel. Remedy and clean this tourists – rich and poor will continue to flock to Goa. Let the concept of tourism brought by the Delhi lobby stay in Delhi and do not make the mistakes of the former government.

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