Ban on Goans from casinos discriminatory: Casino promoter
Panaji: A leading casino operator in Goa has said the government`s proposed ban on local people from entering casinos is "discriminatory" and would hit the state`s hospitality industry.
In a representation to Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar sent Thursday, Shrinivas Nayak, director of Casino Pride, which operates a string of casinos in the state, also said the ban would cripple the casino industry and promote "hafta raj".
"Banning of Goans on the basis of statehood would not only demean their rights being Indian citizens, but also amount to discrimination," Nayak said in his communication to the chief minister.
"Banning Goans may lead to creation of illegalities like opening back door, hafta raj, intimidation by powerful local people and getting forceful entry, providing fake documents which ultimately create a bad name for the casino industry," the casino promoter has said.
Earlier this month, Parrikar, under popular pressure to crackdown on the casino industry, had announced a ban on entry for locals into casinos from Feb 28. According to the conditions of the proposed ban, anyone domiciled in Goa, will not be allowed entry on the casino`s gaming floor.
The Chief Minister also promised to set up a Gaming Commission to regulate the cash-rich casino industry in Goa, which is represented by nearly a dozen onshore casinos and four operational offshore casinos.
Nayak, whose group operates four casinos, including its flagship offshore operation Casino Pride, now says that the ban on locals could give rise to several practical issues like identifying an indigenous Goan from the hundreds of thousands of casino patrons who walk in daily.
"People may even forge documents (to prove their domicile) and produce (them at the casino entry), which will lead to unnecessary hardship to the casinos," Nayak said.
The ban, he said, would not only affect the casino industry, but also hit the hospitality industry which is "heavily dependent upon casino income especially in off season besides employment created for locals".
Making a pitch for modification of the ban, the casino promoter has sought provisions implemented in casino havens of Europe and Macau like introducing "special gaming permits" and special day passes so that locals can entertain guests from out of state at casinos.
"General banning of local people in Nepal and Sri Lanka has been disastrous and has only led to illegalities and hafta raj," the representation says.
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