BJP demands rollback on casino entry fee

PTI, PANAJI | 28 March 2012 23:13 IST

Goa BJP today said it will ask Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to reconsider the decision to slash the entry fee on casinos to Rs 500 from Rs 2,000.

The government move in the budget has invited the ire of media.

Addressing a press conference, State BJP spokesman Wilfred Mesquita said, "I will tell Chief Minister that if possible the fees should not be brought down. I will convey media's sentiments to him." 

The BJP leader called the press conference to speak on the Budget, which he said, has fulfilled majority of the promises made by the party in its election manifesto. 

There are six off-shore casinos operational along Mandovi river in Panaji. 

The casino operators charge Rs 2,000 each from customers as the entry fee. They reimburse Rs 1,500 in the form of gambling chips which can be baited off-shore. 

Mesquita said the off shore casino operators will not be able to cheat the Government to a larger extend as entry fee itself has been reduced. 

Parrikar, while slashing the entry fee, had hiked the annual license fee per off-shore casino from Rs five crore to Rs 6.5 crore. 

The licence fee for land-based casinos, which number around 15, has been hiked from Rs 10 lakhs to Rs 2.5 crore. The Casino Association of Goa (CAG) has criticised the hike in licence fee. 

"The original licence fee of Rs 5 crore itself was unaffordable. How can we afford Rs 6.5 crore..? Entertainment tax has also been increased from 10 per cent to 15 per cent, Shrinivas Nayak, CAG's Executive Member, said. 

He said the CAG will petition the Chief Minister asking him to reconsider the decision to hike the licence fee. He welcomed the move to clash the entry fee. 

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