Online gambling

Goa CM intends to ‘take action’ against online gambling apps

The Goa government may take punitive action against online gambling apps after the opposition claimed such apps, including ‘Rummy Circle’, were addictive to youngsters, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant announced on Friday.

“I’m going to act on this,” Sawant said, while answering a question during Zero Hour during the current monsoon session of the state assembly.

Sawant was responding to a question from Congressman Sankalp Amonkar, who claimed online gambling was “dangerous” for young people. The MLA had said during the Zero Hour discussion: “Many governments have banned it and therefore Goa government should also ban online rummy games.”

“Rummy, three-card poker, etc. are dangerous. These are easily accessible to young people. They are addicted to these games. Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Assam, Orissa, Nagaland have banned online gambling,” the Congress legislator told the assembly.

Amonkar also said that the most worrying thing about these online betting games is that students are putting up large volumes of money to participate in them.

“One can start playing these games from Rs 5 up to Rs 10,000. Even one can extend the limit above Rs 40,000. It is a complete scam. The government does not monitor it and therefore the students fall prey,” Amonkar said.

Interestingly, Goa is home to the largest legal casino operations in the country. The coastal state has around six offshore casinos, operating from the Mandovi River off Panaji, and nine land-based casinos that operate from the five-star resorts that dot the state’s coastline.

The proliferation of the casino industry has also quadrupled the state’s tourist traffic. Almost eight million tourists visited Goa in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the travel and tourism industry in the state.