Casinos in Goa reopened in the first week of November. After taking several calls and facing opposition from parties to reopen or not, the state government finally let the casinos get back to normal but with strict rules.
Casino operators were allowed to start from 1 November with 50% capacity and strictly following Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the central and state governments. As per recent reports, it has been noted that pandemic norms are not being followed as mentioned earlier.
Local residents have raised issues owning to their health that casino goers have been violating the guidelines provided by the state government. The gathering of large number of people at the casinos and that too without masks has been widely rampant amongst the tourists and local gamblers. They have specifically emphasized that gamblers outside the casinos have been gathering and not following safety norms too.
Uday Madkaikar, mayor of the city of Panaji had said in the past week that he will be raising the issue of safety norms being violated around casinos. He mentioned that he would convene a meeting with casino operators to discuss the lack of medical safeguards being followed and the state of the casinos after reopening. Madkaikar had stringently mentioned that local authorities were liberally allowed to fine INR 100 for each tourist caught flouting the rules imposed due to the pandemic. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had also earlier mentioned that people without masks would be fined double the amount as the locals want a strict action to be taken and the rules to be looked at again.
Another menace that has now been addressed is the congestion of Panaji’s arterial road, DB Marg. Ports Minister Michael Lobo has mentioned that the offices and operations of the six offshore casinos will be shifted to the tourism department’s river cruise jetty. A plan will be worked out for the same by Captain of Ports (CoP) and Corporation of City Panaji (CCP). Currently, the offshore casino offices are housed in the CoP building and on the CoP jetty. We can only look forward to the benefits of this thriving industry.
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