BJP for rollback of decision on casino fees in Goa

Goa BJP on Wednesday said it will ask Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to reconsider the decision to slash the entry fee on casinos.

Panaji: Goa BJP on Wednesday said it will ask Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to reconsider the decision to slash the entry fee on casinos to Rs 500 from Rs 2,000, a move which has invited the ire of the media here.

Addressing a press conference, State BJP spokesman Wilfred Mesquita said, "I will tell Chief Minister that if possible the fees should not be brought down. I will convey
media`s sentiments to him."

Mesquita faced a volley of questions about his own
party-led Government`s decision (announced by Parrikar during
Budget presentation) to cut down the entry fee for off shore
casinos and bringing it par with on shore ones.

The BJP leader called the press conference to speak on
the Budget, which he said, has fulfilled majority of the
promises made by the party in its election manifesto.

There are six off-shore casinos operational along
Mandovi river in Panaji.

The casino operators charge Rs 2,000 each from
customers as the entry fee. They reimburse Rs 1,500 in the
form of gambling chips which can be baited off-shore.

Mesquita said the off shore casino operators will not
be able to cheat the Government to a larger extend as entry
fee itself has been reduced.

Parrikar, while slashing the entry fee, had hiked the
annual license fee per off-shore casino from Rs five crore to
Rs 6.5 crore.

The licence fee for land-based casinos, which number
around 15, has been hiked from Rs 10 lakhs to Rs 2.5 crore.
The Casino Association of Goa (CAG) has criticised the
hike in licence fee.

"The original licence fee of Rs 5 crore itself was
unaffordable. How can we afford Rs 6.5 crore..? Entertainment
tax has also been increased from 10 per cent to 15 per cent,
Shrinivas Nayak, CAG`s Executive Member, said.

He said the CAG will petition the Chief Minister
asking him to reconsider the decision to hike the licence fee.
He welcomed the move to clash the entry fee.

PTI

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