Goa casino operators accused of manipulating election results

Goa’s Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte has accused the state’s casino operators of manipulating election results by enrolling their “out of state” casino employees into electoral rolls, local media reports.

On Sunday, Minister Khaunte accused the owners of casinos of indulging in mass enrolment in order to influence government policy on the casino industry in the future.

He has called on the State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to check if casino employees, especially those from the North Eastern States were being enrolled en masse into the electoral rolls in Goa.

“I have already filed a complaint with the CEO after I found 820 names of casino employees in my constituency of Porvorim. All the new additions have been routed through one internet protocol (IP) address,” Mr. Khaunte said.

“The mass enrolment is aimed at influencing Lok Sabha and other elections in order to elect politicians who are favorable to the casino lobby. The probe should also include all other areas of Goa wherever there are casino operations.”

There are currently seven offshore casinos and 10 onshore casinos operating in Goa.

Mashaal Rally to be held against offshore casinos

Drawing inspiration from the Mashaal (flame torch) rally organized by Manohar Parrikar against offshore casinos over a decade ago, a citizen’s group named Rising Goans have decided to hold a similar protest in Panaji on April 13.

The group has accused each consecutive state government of increasing the number of casino vessels in the Mandovi river. They are calling for the state to appoint a gaming commissioner and introduce a casino policy that would bar Goans from entering casinos unless they were employed there.