In March of 2020, Goa casinos were ordered to shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now state officials say that the six floating casinos and other resort-style casinos can open Nov. 1st but must follow the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP’s) issued by the home department.
Before the pandemic hit India, Goa’s domestic casinos were booming, averaging 600-800 patrons per vessel on the weekends. Goa casinos have typically contributed about ₹300 crores to state coffers in licensing fees per year.
According to the Times of India, the home department has yet to issues SOP’s for casinos. However, operators were told that they could only operate at a 50% capacity until the restriction is lifted. Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant told the media that the decision to open domestic casinos was taken to promote tourist activity for the last quarter of 2020.
Despite public restrictions throughout the country, gambling did not stop, but most Indians were forced to explore online options in the shutdown wake. Legal India online casino games, online poker, and online sports betting have thrived during the pandemic due to their online nature.
India gambling laws do not forbid the use of online gambling services or mobile casinos. Many IN residents use online casinos and other gambling services that several online entities will accept INR as a payment method. Rupees casinos are often sought after due to ease of banking methods.
Now that Goa casinos and set to open, several operators are stating they need a couple of weeks to ensure they can open safely. Since March, most employees have been sent home and will need time to return to their everyday lives; however, the race is now on.
For other residents who are not ready to leave the safety net of their home, online casinos have not gone anywhere, and typically bettors can find more online casino games online; however, it is hard to replace the look and feel of a slot pull, or a roulette winner.