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The Government of Kerala has refused to give the nod to casinos to start operating in the state. This means that there won’t be any casinos operating in the coastal areas of Kerala as initially proposed anytime soon. However, the government has not entirely ruled out the possibility for the same in the future.
On February 3, speaking in the Legislative Assembly, Kerala excise minister, TP Ramakrishnan, said, “Kerala government to issue licences to units which produce low alcohol liquor. Government has not yet decided to give permission to Casinos in coastal areas,”
The secondary issue that was discussed revolved around the government`s decision to issue licenses to low alcohol-producing units. Ramakrishnan informed that banning bars in the state did not reduce alcohol consumption. In 2015-16, the state had recorded 220.58 Lakhs cases in alcohol sales. In 2018-19, the recorded alcohol sales stood at 216.34 Lakh cases – this despite the ban.
Ramakrishnan also responded to the queries raised by the United Democratic Front (UDF) MLA’s in the assembly. The Minister further informed that the government proposes to open de-addiction centers in all talukas of the state. He said, “Government will open de-addiction centres in all talukas. Will increase the number of beds in existing de-addiction centre.”
This announcement comes at a time when political pressure against casinos is mounting. Goa, one of only two states in the country with casinos, banned the entry of locals in all gambling establishments starting February 1. Goa CM, Pramod Sawant, announced the same last week.