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Casinos In Goa Reopen After Four Months Of Closures

Posted on September 22, 2021 | 10:59 am

Casinos in the Indian state of Goa were finally allowed to reopen on Monday, after four months in which they had to keep their doors shut due to restrictions related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Pramod Sawant, the Chief Minister of Goa, announced that only the customers who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to enter the casinos. Alternatively, clients can present a recent negative Covid-19 test.

“The expert committee compared the Covid-19 positivity rate over the last two-three weeks and it has been under 2 percent. In order to revive economic activity and tourism activity, casinos have been allowed to reopen on Monday with strict standard operating procedures,” the Chief Minister said.

There are several casinos in Goa, six of them are offshore casinos on the Mandovi river, and about a dozen other land-based casinos which are located inside the best hotels in the state. These casinos employ thousands of people and generate significant revenue for the state. Moreover, the reopening of the casinos should help boost the state’s tourism industry, which has suffered a lot during the pandemic.

With casinos now open, the industry stakeholders expect to see hotels, restaurants and taxi services get more and more customers as peak tourist season sets in next month.

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A Crucial Industry For Goa

The importance of the casino industry for the state of Goa is quite significant, considering that the state government’s average annual earning in licence fees from casinos is estimated to be more than Rs 320 crore. Moreover, the government earns approximately Rs 1,000 crore in taxes for other activities in complementary fields such as restaurants, hotels and tourist vehicles.

The offshore casinos on the Mandovi river also pay entry fees and local taxes to the Corporation of the City of Panaji and about Rs 25 lakh for licenses to the Excise Department of the state government. The Excise Department also gets a fee for every bottle of alcohol consumed in the casinos.

Shrinivas Nayak, Director of the Majestic Pride Group, which operates the Majestic Pride Casino on the Mandovi river, described the past few months as “a very hard time”. During the first lockdown, the casino was closed for seven months, and on the second lockdown, the doors were shut for almost five months. Majestic Pride Casino has nearly 2,500 employees, which were not laid off despite the difficulties.

SOURCE: “Covid under control, Goa casinos to restart from Monday“. The Indian Express. September 19, 2021.

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