In a statement which might niggle the ruling BJP-led coalition government in Goa ahead of the 2022 assembly polls, a gung-ho Union Minister for Tourism and Culture G Kishen Reddy said that the central government was formally willing coin a descriptor for Goa as the 'casino capital of India'.
Reddy told a press conference here on Saturday, that Goa had already been christened by the people of India as the 'casino capital' of the country, and expressed no surprise that destinations like Goa and Sikkim, both of which have legalised casino operations, have seen flocks of visiting tourists.
“The people have given that title. We do not need to give a title. People are flocking to Sikkim, the other is here. People have declared this is the casino capital. There is no need (for the government) to do it,” Reddy said, when a reporter asked him if the central government was considering branding Goa as the 'casino capital' of India.
Goa has around five operational offshore casinos and around 10 onshore casinos operating in the state. The casino industry, which has been the source of flak for successive Congress and BJP-led coalition governments over the last decade, has witnessed hordes of footfalls, after it was reopened following a long spell of closure on account of the second Covid wave.
Nearing the end of the press conference, Reddy also said that if Goa would stand to benefit by the central government’s formal recognition of the state as the ‘casino capital’ of India the central government would “definitely do it”, before Union Minister of state for Tourism Shripad Naik, who was also present on the dais, hurriedly announced the end of the media event.