The biggest casino operator in India, Delta Corp, says it has received permission to develop the first integrated land-based resort in the state of Goa.
Delta told investors on Saturday that it had obtained approval in principle from the Goa Investment Promotion and Facilitation Board to set up an integrated resort in the northern part of the state, in the city of Pernem. Delta humble-bragged that it is expected that the venue will be one of its kind in the nation.
The resort plans to include hotels, a convention centre, a multiplex theatre, retail shopping, a water park and, yes, a ‘electronic casino.’ Due to Goa’s current gambling legislation limiting live casino table games to the six floating casinos of the state, the electronic qualifier is required.
Delta did not provide a timeline for when it will begin to build its new land-based offering, nor when the facility will be available to the public. At its five-star Deltin Suites hotel, Delta’s Goa operations currently consist of three shipboard casinos and one land-based location.
For years, Goa’s government has vowed to curb waterborne gambling by forcing its floating casino licensees to carry their activities ashore. Earlier, the government pledged to build a dedicated gaming area near the Mopa airport in the Pernem area, although few specifics of this plan have been finalised.
After a long pandemic shutdown, Goa recently allowed its casinos to restart operations, but the reboot was anything but smooth sailing. Last month, city officials expressed anger at casino guests who openly disregarded criteria for social distancing and mask-wearing.
Goa officials recently announced that police would now accompany health inspectors on trips to the embarkation points of the casinos with the assurance that they would photograph and fine anyone found breaching the medical precautions.
For some local residents, who expressed concern at recent news that a number of casino workers had tested positive for COVID-19, that’s not enough. By barring entry to Goa residents, some neighbouring states have responded, leading some Goans to ask why Goa had not introduced similar measures (the response being that Goa’s casinos are off-limits to local residents, rendering them entirely dependent on tourism).