Goa’s chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar has confirmed that he is considering the renewal of an offshore casino’s licence, but on the condition that the operator pays its outstanding fees including interest and penalties.
[dropcap]“W[/dropcap]e will not allow any more offshore casinos in the state, but out of the six offshore casino licences, one casino licence was not renewed due to technical reason,” said Parsekar, as quoted in the Times of India. “We may consider renewal of their licence, if they pay the recurring fees with interest and penalty.”
The operator, Golden Globe Hotels Private Limited (GGHPL), recently appeared before the country’s high court over its pending annual licence fee, an estimated INR50 crore (E6.6m).
The permission to operate on the Mandovi river was initially issued to M/S Hotel Leela Ventures in 2006 but operations were later transferred to GGHPL on the condition that they would pay for the renewal of the casino licence from the period from 2011 to 2016.
SG Desai, GGHPL’s senior counsel, promised the high court that the firm would pay the full amount “within a period of four weeks from the date of the order.”
We may consider renewal of their licence, if they pay the recurring fees with interest and penalty.
The five operational offshore casinos moored in the Mandovi river off Panaji attract hundreds of thousands of gamblers annually, and the majority of these were set up when the Congress governed the state between 2007-2012. However, earlier this year the Legislative Assembly gave them an ultimatum to relocate from the river to alternative docking sites by the end of March 2017.
Ahead of the 2012 assembly polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party, which led a sustained campaign against the casino industry, promised to rid the river of the casinos if voted in to power.
However earlier this month Parsekar announced that cracking down on casinos would send the wrong signal to potential investors in the state.