Finally some great news for all of you missing live poker! Seven months after the 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 resume operations by November 1.
Tourism is one of the major sources of revenue for the coastal state and the decision of reopening the casinos has been taken keeping the same in view. Announcing the big decision on Wednesday, Pramod Sawant claimed that it was actually taken to “promote tourism activity in the state.”
The casinos will, however, be allowed to operate at 50% of their capacity and the casino authorities will have to follow all the standard operating procedures laid down by the state Home department.
“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, saying that instead of paying annual fees, the casino operators would now be allowed to pay their licence fees on a monthly basis, instead of annually.
Goa has six operational offshore casinos anchored in the Mandovi river off Panaji and around 10 onshore casinos operating from the numerous five-star resorts located in the state’s coastal belt. This announcements must be the best news for all casino operators as well as poker and rummy enthusiasts missing live games. Since the Covid -19, all major live poker tournaments that happen in Goa casinos have been either cancelled or shifted online, including WPT India 2020 series, which is taking place online for the first time and is slated to run 5th -22nd November on Adda52.com.
While the reopening is a big news, the casino operators believe that it will take weeks to go full steam as many of the staff have gone back home during the lockdown. With travel restrictions still there in different places and the casino industry reopening in just a few days, most casino staff is likely to take several days or even weeks to return to work. Stay tuned in for more updates!