Panaji: The casinos of Goa could now fund old age homes, among other social initiatives of the state government, said Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in the state legislative assembly on Wednesday.
Replying to a debate on grants to the home ministry, Parrikar also said that the state government coffers did not need monies earned from the casino industry.
“The government is not keen on promoting gambling. We have to solve the previous problem created by the previous government. Casino money will be put in a separate account and given to old age homes. We don’t need that money in the budget. I don’t want that money,” an emphatic Parrikar said, adding that Goa continued to persist with the casino industry not for the sake of money, but “simply because they cannot be shut down overnight”.
“Based on the assurances of the previous governments, people have invested. They cannot be told to go overnight,” Parrikar stated, adding that casinos did not amount to healthy tourism.
“Casino (tourism) is not a very healthy tourism, some principles should be maintained. Gambling brings along with it liquor, prostitution and drugs. They don’t bring it in, they only increase the level,” the chief minister said. He added that he was keen on shifting the six offshore casinos out of the Mandovi river, possibly into the seas before his tenure was over.
Six offshore casinos and the dozen-odd land-based casinos contributed nearly Rs.30 crore to the Goa government treasury over the last two and a half years.