India's Goa bans local people from casinos

PANAJI, India - Authorities in Goa have decided to ban local people from entering the holiday state's casinos, which from March will only welcome tourists.

Goa's Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar announced the amendment to the state's gambling act, which will come into force on March 1, prohibiting locals from entering either onshore casinos or those on ships in Goan waters.

"The act would be amended making it mandatory for the person entering casino to prove that he is tourist and not a Goan," Parrikar said Thursday, adding that a gaming commissioner would be appointed to regulate the casino industry.

Tight restrictions exist on gambling in India, where Goa is one of few states to allow casinos -- it has more than 12 in its various five-star hotels.

It is also the only Indian state to have offshore gaming vessels, which are anchored in the Mandovi River in Goa's main city of Panaji.

The state's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party had in its election manifesto pledged to ban locals from entry into casinos after activists protested against the ill effects of betting.