Casinos Gambling away Goa


By Rebecca Pereira

The government has promised for quite a while now to stay on top of the demands made by the locals in regards to casinos. In addition, the government is refining the Gaming Commission to de-bar Goans from entering the casinos. Hence locals, who wish to seek entry, are required to take special permission from the gaming commissioner.

Goans banned from entering casinos

According to this report, the Goa government has banned the entry of Goans in these gambling houses, “as a large number of youth were said to be getting addicted to gambling.”

Last year, one of India’s top environmental journalists and campaigners, Prerna Singh Bindra’s shocked her audience in a lecture at Panjim, by displaying the top results of an internet search for Goa: Casinos, Gambling and Prostitution! She projected images from her phone of what she had seen after getting off the plane at Dabolim: blanket advertising for casinos.

She asked, “Is this what Goa stands for? Sin city?”

“Is this what we want?” she exclaimed. But the paradoxical truth about casinos in Goa is that not many actually want them. They cling on like leeches, continuing to exist solely because this so-called “industry” always subverts democracies, wherever it pierces its hooks anywhere in the world. Its nature is to direct pipelines of highly dubious cash directly into the pockets of political parties, politicians and policemen ready to be corrupted into resisting the people’s will. It happened in Macau and Nevada. Now it is Goa’s turn.

Negative environmental impact

Two years ago, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) was petitioned about sewage pollution from casinos, and enjoined Goa’s pollution control board (GSPCB) to test Mandovi’s water. The results were gravely disturbing.

Where 5 CFU (colony-forming units) of faecal coliform bacteria is considered safe, the lowest recorded in six river locations tested was 78 CFU/ml. Right next to the casinos opposite Panjim jetty was an extremely dangerous 330 CFU/ml, making it “unsafe for recreational bathing, water sports and fishing.”

Shouldn’t the casinos be shut down immediately and for good? Everyone knows the solution is to stop gambling from degrading everything of value in Goa’s environment, culture and society.

If you think Goans would be affected by the ban, the brief comments from The Times of India’s audience, states that they would like to see the closure of casinos or the ban on all Indians instead of just Goans.