Panaji, August 2: There is no 'matka' gambling centre operating in Goa, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar told the assembly on Tuesday against the backdrop of an ongoing police investigation into the matter.
"There is no 'matka' booking centre in the state. However, whenever 'matka' gambling activities are noticed or upon receipt of reliable information, cases are registered by the police," Parsekar said in reply to a question by Francisco Pacheco, Goa Vikas Party legislator from Nuvem.
The Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court is currently overseeing a Crime Branch probe into the nexus between matka gambling lobby, the politicians and the police.
Matka is an illegal form of gambling that has gained immense popularity in Mumbai and Konkan region since the 1970s. It functions six days a week, virtually like a lottery, where lucky numbers are generated thrice every day.
Matka's popularity stems from the fact that one can wager as small an amount as one rupee.
The matka industry in Goa alone is pegged at several thousand crore of rupees. Several legislators and ministers in successive state governments have demanded its legalisation.