Casinos in the Indian states of Goa and Sikkim have been granted permission to reopen from this Sunday 1 November, the first time in more than eight months they will have the opportunity to welcome guests.
According to a report by local gaming industry website GLaws, Goa’s Chief Minister Pramod Sawant delivered the long-awaited news on Wednesday, stating, “From November 1, we have given the casinos permissions to start. They will have to follow all the SOPs as will be issued to them by the Home Department and with 50% capacity they can start. We need to promote tourism activity.”
The state’s six offshore casinos plus those located inside five-star hotels will also be allowed to pay their annual fees monthly rather than in a single chunk.
The news will come as a major boost to the nation’s biggest gaming operator Delta Corp, which recently reported a loss of Rs 28.2 crore (US$3.8 million) for the three months to 30 June 2020. Group-wide revenue for the period fell 68.5% to Rs61.31 crore (US$8.1 million), but would have been more if not for a 60% year-on-year increase in online gaming revenue which contributed the majority of revenue. Delta Corp’s online gaming assets include online poker site Adda52.com, online rummy site Adda52rummy.com and online fantasy sports site LeagueAdda.com.
Delta Corp earlier this week announced it had acquired a 45% stake in the Indian shipyard that had built its “Casino Royale” offshore casino.
Goan authorities shut down casinos on 14 March due to the spread of COVID-19, but despite finally reopening the long-term future of the state’s offshore casinos remains in limbo after they were handed another six-month extension to operate on the River Mandovi in September. It is now six years since the government announced all offshore casinos would be relocated onshore but to now no decision has bene made on exactly where they will move to.