Goa casinos to reopen from November 1

Goa casinos to reopen from November 1

The casinos will have to operate at 50 per cent of their capacity

Representative Image. Credit: Pixabay Photo

Seven months after casino operations in Goa were suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday said that casinos, both offshore and onshore can begin operations by November 1.

Speaking to reporters after chairing a weekly cabinet meeting, Sawant also said that casinos would be allowed to run with 50 per cent capacity and would need to follow all the SOPs put in place by the state and central governments.

"Casinos will start from November 1. We have given them permission," the Chief Minister said.

Sawant said that the reasons why casinos were allowed to restart operations in the state was to facilitate the resurgence of tourist activity in the coastal state, which attracted nearly eight million tourists last year, but saw footfalls drop drastically, due to the pandemic.

"They will have to follow all the SOPs as issued to them by the Home Department. They will have to operate with 50 per cent capacity. We need to promote tourism activity," Sawant said.

Sawant also announced a financial concession made to the influential industry, saying they would be allowed to pay their licence fee on a monthly basis, instead of annually.

There are currently six offshore and nine onshore casinos operating in Goa. While the offshore casinos function from glitzy boats anchored in the Mandovi river off Panaji, the onshore casinos function from the many five star hotels in the coastal tourism savvy state.

The first onshore casinos were licenced in the early 1990s, while the first offshore casino was licenced later in the same decade.