Casinos cannot be Goa’s USP: AAP

Panaji, Nov 8 (IANS) The AAP on Tuesday said casinos cannot be projected as Goa’s USP and that doing away with offshore and onshore casinos in the state will be one of its key poll issues.

Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Oscar Rebello also told the media that Goa’s casinos funded a cross section of political parties and that the AAP, as a matter of principle, did not accept any donations from the casino lobby.A

“AAP will work towards doing away with all kinds of casinos, onshore and offshore, from Goa. But for that we need a full majority (in the assembly),” Rebello said.

“People should back us for a full majority. In the last five years, drug addiction, gambling and prostitution have flourished because of the casino business.

“Casinos cannot be Goa’s USP. Goa is a culturally rich state and should not bank on such a mafia activity to promote tourism,” Rebello added.

The BJP in the run up to the 2012 assembly elections had promised to rid Goa of casinos. But after taking power, the BJP-led coalition government said that because of the revenue earned by the casino industry and the taxes it raised for the state exchequer, casinos could not be banned.

Goa currently has five offshore casinos parked in the Mandovi river off Panaji and nine onshore casinos housed in various five star resorts along the coastline.