The mayor of the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP), Uday Madkaikar, said that he was misquoted that offshore casinos would get permission for two more years, and said that CCP stands firm on not renewing casino licenses.
“The press misquoted me. We have not changed our stand,” he told the presspersons, as per a report in The Time of India.
Last month, when casinos approached CCP to renew licenses, their trade licenses were kept on hold. The corporation earns Rs 56 lakhs per year for trade licenses from six offshore casinos on the river Mandovi in Goa.
“The question of renewing licenses of offshore casinos doesn’t arise at all. Our stand and that of Babus (Atanasio Monserrate, Panaji MLA) is firm. We don’t want casinos in Panaji. I was telling the press what the taxi operators and prominent businessmen requested. They have been asking me not to stop casinos as business is already down due to COVID. Shutting down casinos will worsen the situation. They requested that licenses be given for at least two years,” Madkaikar said.
Monserrate had promised during the byelection in Panaji in 2019 to remove all the offshore casinos from the river Mandovi within 100 days of him winning the election.
“This is a sensitive decision. I can’t take the decision alone. I will have to take permission from the councillors. A council resolution to renew their trade licenses will have to be taken,” Madkaikar added.
Over the last few years, the casinos in Goa, till April of this year, have been continuously given six-month licences to operate.
Besides the six offshore casinos, there are a dozen onshore casinos in the state, which are all shut due to COVID-19. In June, Pramod Sawant said that there were no plans to reopen casinos soon.