Goa set for sixth floating casino

Golden Globe Hotels Private Ltd. looks set to get the go-ahead for the sixth floating casino on Goa’s River Mandovi after the High Court told the government it has no objection to the license.

The company is owned by former minister Gopal Kanda, local media reports.

Golden Globe approached the High Court after the government failed to renew its license even though it had paid its dues.

The court directed that the government take a decision within 24 hours as it is not a policy decision and neither an application seeking a fresh licence. The government had sought longer to consider the application, in part because of the disruption stemming from state elections.

Goa is scheduled to get the results from its elections on March 11. Casino operators in the state are watching the outcome closely, due to the inclusion of a new party, the Aam Aadmi Party (Common Man Party). The party, which started out as an anti-corruption movement, caused an election upset in the capital region of New Delhi where it now rules. It is also expected to have a strong showing in the Punjab.

The AAP has vowed to close down Goa’s casinos if it comes to power, claiming they sully the state’s image. The closure would be a blow to efforts to push for wider legalization across India.

According to local opinion polls, one has shown the AAP emerging as the single largest party, but short of majority, while another says it will be the second largest party, with BJP winning. Others rank AAP lower but none of the polls have ruled them out altogether. In Delhi, it proved opinion polls wrong to emerge as the largest party.