Nuvem MLA and Goa Vikas Party (GVP) supremo Francisco ‘Mickky’ Pacheco charged that casinos in Goa have been causing the state a loss in crores of rupees of revenue by underreporting the number of persons visiting casinos. While he refrained from making a statement against the government, observers say that Pacheco’s statement is indirectly against revenue collection by the commercial taxes department. In other words, Pacheco has contradicted the statement of the chief minister that leakages in revenue collection have been plugged by the government.
Pacheco, a member of the ruling coalition, has also alleged that casinos are operating a ‘hawala’ (racket), a charge the government may have to respond to. Pacheco said that while they received 800 persons on weekdays and 1,200 people on weekends, casinos report entry of only 100-150 persons. “The casinos in Goa, especially the offshore casinos are siphoning off funds from the state,” Pacheco alleged and demanded a government inquiry into the issue. He said this was depriving Goa of tax revenue. “At the current commercial tax value of 500 per person, each casino operator deprives the state exchequer of a minimum of 4 lakh on weekdays and 5 lakh on weekends,” said Pacheco. He said this is the figure when the entry fee is 500.
In the previous financial year, it was 2,000 per person. Pacheco also said almost 80 per cent of the casino employees are non-Goans, although there are enough people suitable for the job in Goa. He said he was recently approached by a group of boys working in a casino who told him that they are being harassed in order to force them to leave their jobs. He demanded that all previous dues be recovered from the casinos and the casinos should be sealed till this was done. He also called on the government to install surveillance cameras as well as appoint government officials to monitor each casino.