Goa’s Chief Minister, Pramod Sawant proclaims that from February 1st, 2020, locals of Goa are banned from entering the casinos that are operating in the coastal state.
The reality is that Goans have been condemned to enter the casino since the Gambling Act of 2012 being introduced. The Act was bought into existence after long debates and discussions regarding the complaints that people are losing and emptying their pockets to gambling. However, it’s still evident that there is not much attention paid to the prohibition until now.
Sawant further said,
Casinos are for tourists. Some come to Goa only to play in the Casinos, the locals of Goa, should not go to the casino.
There is no denying that gambling is illegal, but that doesn’t mean that people are not going to gamble. Prohibiting locals from entering the casinos might not make a difference.
It will backfire in a manner when the activities will take place underground illegally even after strict prohibitions, that too at places without consumer protection. It will also, later on, avert the government from collecting revenue from the activities.
So, from a broader perspective, the addiction to gambling has to be treated and not just be swept away.
According to the State Ports Minister, Michael Lobo, there is no difference between being allowed to enter a casino and being allowed to gamble; he is not necessarily against the prohibition on gambling.
As per the report stated by The Times of India, Lobo states that apart from gambling there are other amenities in the casino, people entering the casino can indulge themselves in other recreational activities, such as music, entertainment, food, etc. for which the locals shouldn’t be stopped from entering the casinos.
Goans are Indian nationals, so you should not allow all Indians entry while not allowing Goans. This needs to be debated at the highest levels.
On average around, 8 million-plus tourists visit Goa each year, a million of which are foreigners. Quite many of these foreign tourists visit the casinos. In the year 2018-19, the state government of Goa collected Rs 411.44 crore as revenue from the onshore and offshore casinos. After that the state faced a 30% shortfall in GST collection and liabilities over Rs 22,000 crores, so the additional ban for the locals brings an additional shortfall for the state’s monetary system.
Further discussing the tax accumulation, a BJP MLA demands to legalize the daily lottery ‘MATKA’. He believes that if Goa accepts this, the state can fetch taxes over that activity.
On talking about the same discussion of the matka legalizing, Lobo explained to the reporters,
Today or tomorrow matka will be legal. There will be no ban. It will be legal. It will come under the ambit of law. No one pays GST on matka. There is a huge loss to the government. My request is to let it come under the purview of law and GST should be applied on it.
The rules prosecuting the ban are still to be formulated. Sawant has said that the Gaming Commission will be notified when the authority will formulate rules for the casino industry and keep the locals of Goa afar from the casinos.
Goa is not the only state where locals are restrained from the casinos. Other than Goa, Sikkim is the only other state in India where locals are prohibited from entering the casinos, and this prohibition’s major agenda is to safeguard the local people’s interest.
Countries like Macau, Nepal, South Korea, and Vietnam also have banned locals from entering casinos.