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India-Goa to toughen up on floating casinos

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The casino on board MV Caravella

Goa is looking at setting up a Gambling Commission to regulate and control casinos in the Indian state.

New laws would be brought in to facilitate the development of the Commission along with new regulations for female employees, new laws for private gaming rooms and standardised software, which will be introduced to manage gaming machines. In terms of control the distance vessels are operating away from the shore also needs to be better controlled.

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said: “Government is also considering bringing a comprehensive legislation in the matter of casinos.”

Mr. Parrikar said there are currently 16 licensed casinos in the state, of which 11 are on shore casinos and five are offshore. Only three licences have been issued since 2009 in Goa. “No offshore casino licenses were issued for the said period,” he added.

There has also been mention of a mechanism to log and control the number of locals playing in the casinos.

Parrikar also said there is no mechanism in place to indicate the number of locals visiting casinos.

The Chief Minister  said that ten casinos were in violation of some law and that action would be taken ‘as per provisions of law.’ One of the main problems is the positioning of the off-shore casinos. Gambling vessels are supposed to be five nautical miles away from the shore however those located in the Mandovi river by Panaji are just a few metres away from the shore. Mr. Parrikar highlighted the location of MV Caravella, which operates Casino Soles and is owned by M/s Advani Pleasure Cruise Company  and one of the first off-shore casinos in the region, which is anchored just 50 metres away from the shore. MV Casino Royale, owned by M/S Highstreet Cruises and Entertainment, is the furthest away at 800m from the shore.

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