For the first time ever, a minister in the government has said there will be two bases created for casinos in the River Mandovi. Ports Minister Michael Lobo said that the State government would maintain a “balance” by retaining three casinos at the present site and shifting three others on the other side of the River Mandovi at Aguada bay. He said one casino is already on the other side of the River Mandovi and from the remaining five, two will be shifted on the other side. “We will balance it. There are six casinos. One is already that side. So let three remain on this side of the River Mandovi and three remain on the other side, until the land casino policy is in place,” Lobo said. The minister maintained that government was not expanding the area of casinos by shifting some of them on the other side. “No. We are not increasing the area for the casinos. What is being covered here will be covered on that side. The river channel is open for the barges until the mining starts,” he said. Lobo, however, refused to name the casino that was being shifted to Aguada bay as paperwork for the same was yet to be completed. “Before we shift, I will name the casino. Once the paperwork is done, then we can say it is getting shifted,” he said.
Stating there was a difference between “saying” and “doing”, Ports Minister Michael Lobo said former chief minister late Manohar Parrikar had said he would come out with a casino policy but the present government led by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant would “do” it. “Saying and doing are two different things. Former CM late Manohar Parrikar set the ball rolling by saying that he will come out with the casino policy. We will do it. We will come out with the casino policy. You will have to give us some time,” Lobo said. The ports minister was responding to a query whether the government was letting the former CM down by failing to shift the casinos from River Mandovi. Lobo maintained that the casino policy will be rolled out a soon as work on Mopa airport begins. “You can’t put the cart before the horse. Let the Mopa airport work start. You will see the casino policy coming out,” he said.