In a collective response to the "tough" measures proposed in Goa's additional budget 2009-10, the offshore casino industry has objected to the proposed 10-fold increase in the entry fee to casino vessels from Rs 200 to Rs 2,000.
In a memorandum submitted to Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and leader of opposition Manohar Parrikar Monday, the Association of Offshore Casinos (AOC) has asked the government to whittle down the proposed enhanced entry fee from Rs 2,000 to Rs 500. The fee originally charged was Rs 200.
The AOC comprises of representatives of four out of the six licensed casino operating in the Mandovi river off Panaji.
While recommending on their own volition an increase in the age limit of persons allowed to enter offshore casinos from 18 to 21, the AOC has also advocated setting up of a casino control board for formulation of rules and regulating the industry.
The issue of offshore casinos has accounted for a significant part of the discussions in the Goa legislative assembly over the last two sessions, with the opposition alleging that several ministers had been paid by the casino operators to turn a blind eye to norms being flouted by the latter.
There are presently six offshore casinos operating in Goa, five of which are functioning on expired no objection certificates (NOC) issued by Captain of Ports, a state government agency that governs minor ports.