On Wednesday, India’s cabinet extended another 6 month-long grace period towards the six foreign casinos operating on the country’s Mandovi River. Situated between Panaji and Betim, said foreign operations fall under the jurisdiction of the Goa state cabinet. The extension was granted following an ongoing failure to determine an alternative location.
The four sites previously named as tentative relocation spots have since emerged unsuitable due to technical challenges. They are the mouth of Mandovi, which location is situated near Aquada jail, two locations on the Zuari, and a fourth on the Chapora.
Several extensions have been granted in this manner in previous years – every time subject to the condition of casino operators agreeing to be relocated as soon as a feasible alternative is named by the state.
This year, a lot of feedback was reportedly received from local individuals and village panchayats, with many pushing for the relocation to take place as soon as possible. Government also previously investigated the possibility of granting additional gambling licenses in several more areas, along with leaving the current six operators where they are. This particular motion as raised by Goa Ports Minister Michael Lobo, who said at the time that more licenses issued were necessary for the boosting of local tourism revenue.
Government’s options were however severely limited when the global health crisis struck in the region in March this year. City Council member Kshama Sawant immediately ordered a temporary shuttering of all casinos doing business in Goa – including the six river operations as well as all land-based casinos located in the region’s hotels.
A constant rise in infections has in the meantime created a financial crisis for many of the casinos – both land-based as well as on the region’s rivers – located in Goa. Despite a partial easing of restrictions in April, local casinos have continued to suffer major revenue losses, and resulting as such from a large combination of factors.
Delta Corp., India’s largest casino operator, reported a massive decline in revenue and profits for the three months ending March 31st. By the time May rolled around, the company reported an overall year-on-year revenue decline of 10 per cent for that particular quarter, along with pre-tax profits fallen by a massive 49 percent.
Operators will now want to do everything in their power to bring about a successful recovery.