Goan Casinos to Ban Locals from GamblingApril 18, 2017 9:55 am
The Indian coastal region of Goa has a thriving casino industry with 11 land-based and six floating venues dotted around the state. It is also just one of three states on the vast sub-continent of 1.25 billion people to allow casino gambling, the others including Daman and Sikkim. As a result, Goa has subsequently become a beacon for the country’s ever popular poker scene, with live poker tournaments being hosted across the state, but unfortunately that all is set to change dramatically.
On April 14th, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar conducted an interview with India’s DD News in which he laid out his staunch anti-gambling views. As well as stating that he believed “gambling is not good”, Parrikar also said that he had a preference from removing gambling altogether from the state. In the meantime, however, he has chosen to ban all locals from visiting the establishments, and as he explained:
“That is why we had decided on a policy to ban Goans from going to casinos. A lot has been done about it, and in the days to come there will be complete ban on locals going to casinos.”
Needless to say, the state’s nascent poker industry will suffer as such events as the Indian Poker Championship in Panjim will no longer be able to attract local interest, and so will be forced to relocate. Furthermore, investments which the poker market has been attracting are also likely to be adversely affected.
The latest development represents just one more blow to the state’s gambling industry, which last year was impacted by the government’s decision to scrap high-denomination 1,000 (US$15) and 500 (US$7.50) rupee bills in an attempt to tackle tax evasion, thus forcing its citizens to exchange their old money for the new currency. A lack of ready cash then meant casinos soon started running out of smaller cash denominations to reward its winners, and as one operator explained:
“Say a person swipes debit/credit card for Rs. 10,000 and loses Rs. 2000. If he demands back Rs. 8000, we don’t have such cash. It discourages the patrons to play further. The entire exercise is based on the presumption that all cash is ‘black money’ and all online transactions are ‘white money.’ This is untrue.”