Goa casino operators will take massive hit in revenue due to shutdown
India does not have a casino industry as gambling is frowned upon in most parts of the country. The only exception is the state of Goa which has a thriving land based and offshore gambling industry. Sikkim and Daman also has a fledgling casino industry but it is not as popular as Goa’s casinos.
Goa shuts down casino industry
Goa is right up there with the most popular tourist spots in India. Its scenic beaches, laid back lifestyle and casino industry is responsible for bringing in millions of domestic and international tourists every year. Millions of Indians also throng to Goa on a yearly basis to play legalized casino games and take part in some major tournaments that can only be held at Goa’s casinos.
However, Goa was forced to shut all of its land based and offshore casinos due to the central government issuing a lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic. The first instruction came from the state government ordering all casino operators to shut down operations till March 31. The second directive came from the Central Government who ordered a 21 day lockdown that will extend into the second week of April
There is no indication as of now as to whether the central government will lift this lockdown after the 21 day period expires. With the way things appear at the moment, it is quite likely that this nationwide lockdown will be extended. At the time of this writing, India currently has over 2,500 COVID-19 infections and has recorded a total of 72 deaths. Goa has not recorded any COVID-19 deaths but given the fact that it is one of the most popular tourist hubs in India, its borders are going to be closed for quite some time.
Casino operators suffer massive losses
Goa’s casinos used to get a strong influx of domestic tourists at their casinos in the past. However, they already took a hit earlier this year when the state government issued a ban preventing locals from entering the casinos. The ban came into effect from Feb 1, 2020 and it significantly reduced the number of customers at both land based and offshore casinos.
Goa currently has 9 land based casinos and 7 offshore casinos that operate on the River Mandovi. Casino operators have suffered massive revenue losses during the last two weeks and are now preparing for another month of losses.
Delta Corp which is one of the biggest casino operators in India is expected to get hit the most. The company has already witnessed a 9 percent decline in their share prices and could expect its share prices to drop even further in the next few weeks.
No bailout package for casino operators
While governments in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom contemplate providing their businesses a bailout package to keep them afloat, the Indian finance ministry has made no such announcements yet.
Even if India does decide to offer financial assistance to select industries, it is highly unlikely that the casino industry will feature on the list. This is because Goa’s casino industry has always been a thorn in the side of the state led BJP government. The government has been under pressure for a number of years to shut down the casino industry as anti-gambling groups claim the offshore casinos are polluting the River Mandovi and the land based casinos are causing too many social problems.
The state government could choose to use this situation to their advantage and let casino operators shoulder all of their losses, and let them decide if they want to continue to operate their casinos or close them down for good. However, it all depends on what the state budget currently looks like, as Goa’s casino industry is known for generating significant revenues for the government in the form of GST.
Casino Pride & Casino Deltin make donations
Goa’s casino operators have done their best in the past to emphasize the fact that they provide employment to thousands of Indians and are also directly responsible for boosting tourist numbers in the state. Casino Pride and Casino Deltin have now stepped forward and made significant contributions towards the COVID-19 fund.
Casino Deltin has donated a sum of 2 lakh rupees while Casino Pride has donated a large amount of 1 crore rupees.