Goa govt orders closure of two off shore casinos

Panaji, Jan 31 (PTI) Goa government today ordered closureof two off shore casinos anchored in Mandovi river for failingto get mandatory licence from the Directorate General ofShipping (DGS).

The state Home Ministry, in its order, asked twooff-shore casino vessels M V Casino Royale and M V Arabian SeaKing to shut their operations.

Casino Royale is owned by M/s Highstreet Cruises andEntertainment, while MV Arabian Sea King belongs to M/s VictorHotels and Motels.

The government order, signed by under secretary (Home) VP Dangi, said that both the casinos have violated GoaAnti-Gambling Act, which makes it mandatory for off shorecasinos to have licence from the DGS.

Following the order, any gambling activity on the vesselbecomes unauthorised as the operation of slot machines andgaming tables have been asked to be stopped, officials said.

The order has also been referred to state police, excisedepartment and department of commercial taxes for action fromtheir side.

Officials said that both the casino managements wereissued show cause notices on December 12, 2010 and given sevendays time to respond on the issue of DG shipping licence.

Both the managements had sought additional time tofurnish the licences, which was not granted by the Homedepartment, a senior official added.

Of the six off shore casinos operating in Mandovi river,one was closed earlier by the state Home Ministry forviolating the laws. With the closure of two more, just threefloating casinos are left in the river, which flows alongPanaji.

Off shore casinos in Goa have been facing opposition fromcivil activists, who have been seeking a ban on them forprojecting Goa as a gambling destination.

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