Coronavirus

Goa Casinos Still Closed By India’s COVID-19 Risk, Sikkim Reopens

India’s Delta Corp has reopened a land-based gaming property in the northeastern state of Sikkim. But Delta casinos in the western coastal state of Goa remain shuttered because of risk from India’s second wave of COVID-19.

India’s Casino Deltin Denzong, located at Gangtok, Sikkim’s Denzong Regency hotel, pictured above. It reopened last week. But Delta casinos in Goa remain shuttered. (Image: Delta)

Delta operates a land-based casino in Goa and Sikkim. Delta also runs three water-based casinos in Goa.

The company’s Casino Deltin Denzong, located at Gangtok, Sikkim’s Denzong Regency hotel, reopened on July 6. Health safeguards were put in place based on government guidelines.

But officials in Goa extended a COVID-19 curfew for casinos and many other businesses until at least July 19. It first went into effect on May 9. It was extended several times by state officials.

Curfews Impact Casinos

Last week, Goa’s Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said the state’s gaming properties will not reopen as long as the curfew remains in effect, according to The Times of India. Many businesses are slowly reopening.

Starting on July 5, restaurants and bars in Goa were permitted to open between 7 am and 9 pm. Capacity was capped at 50 percent. Retail shops can open between 7 am and 6 pm. Select public events are capped at the lower of either 100 attendees or 50 percent floor capacity.

The state’s gyms were also allowed to reopen. They cannot allow more than 50 percent of capacity onto the gym floor. Sports complexes can reopen, but spectators are not permitted, according to India.com. Up to 15 people are allowed in religious venues.

For over two months, Goa’s gaming venues have been closed. As a result of the pandemic, Delta Corp has seen a loss of Rs 28.93 crore (US$3.9 million) for the recent three-month period ending June 30.

Beyond casinos, Goa’s movie theaters, schools, colleges, and weekly markets are shuttered.

Goa to Remain Closed

Last month, Sawant said Goa will not reopen for tourism until 100 percent of the population receives at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Hindustan Times.

Until we administer the first dose of vaccine (across the state), tourism will not be reopened here,” Sawant was quoted by the newspaper. “Our target is to accomplish this goal by July 31.”

On Sunday, Goa saw 131 new coronavirus cases. So far, the region has seen about 168,716 COVID-19 cases. In total, 3,097 people have died from the virus in Goa.

Nationally, in India, the pandemic led to widespread death, severe illness, and an oxygen shortage in many health care settings. Many of those who died from COVID-19 in India passed away because of delayed admission to hospitals, India.com said.

Ed Silverstein

Gaming Law, Tribal Gaming, Crime, Gaming Research----An award-winning journalist with credits ranging from the Associated Press to American Lawyer Media, Ed joined the Casino.org news team in 2019 with decades of legal reporting expertise under his belt. His past reporting and editing assignments include Cowles Business Media, Columbia University Press, the Connecticut Post, and Southern Connecticut Newspapers, Inc. Besides the law and its application to the gaming industry, Ed’s areas of expertise span business, courts, crime, politics, education, and state and local government. With an undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut (where he now lives), and master’s degrees from Harvard and Yale, Ed’s professional awards include recognition from the New England Press Association and New England AP News Executives. Email: ed.silverstein@casino.org

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Ed Silverstein