Panaji, June 06: Goa Chief Minister Digamber Kamat on Saturday said opposition to the offshore casino vessels would subside once they are shifted away from the public sight.
"Out of sight is out of mind. People right now oppose
offshore casinos because they are within the city limits,"
Kamat told reporters during a press conference called to
announce the achievements of government in last two years.
The Digamber Kamat-led government, with alliance partners
like NCP, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Independents,
today completed two years in the chair.
The Chief Minister said that once the offshore casino
vessels are shifted away from Mandovi river, all the public
protests against them would stop.
"I don`t think here will be any problem once these
casinos move away," he said.
Goa has six offshore casino vessels, which witnessed
strong protest from the public and the Opposition BJP.
The issue also figured in the recent Lok Sabha polls with
few Congress leaders including party spokesman Vishnu Wagh
supporting the offshore casinos saying that they generate
employment for locals.
The BJP, on the other hand, had prominently put up their
opposition to offshore casino vessels in the election
Replying to a question, Kamat said that the offshore
casinos help in Goa`s economy as they pay Rs 5 crore annually
and state earns in other ways like entertainment tax from
"We can push this money into the social sector which
will benefit the common men," he said.
Kamat clarified that it is not his government that
brought in offshore casinos in the state. The casino policy
was decided much before, he said.
The Chief Minister said that the state government
would soon enact gambling legislation in the next assembly
session and the process is on to appoint a gaming commission
which will regulate these offshore vessels.