Royal Plaza in Sikkim gets official nod to begin Casino

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Gangtok, Nov 13 (UNI) Step aside Goa, make way for the new royal player from this Himalayan state which was officially crowned today as the first 'land-based live' casino in the entire length and breadth of the nation.

In a momentous step towards promoting high-end tourism, the Sikkim government yesterday authorised Teesta Rangit Private Ltd for the installation and operation of casino games at the premises of its luxury hotel, Royal Plaza, here.

Apart from the natural appeal, this mountainous state will have the new attraction radiating from this 60 roomed hotel, which has now become all set to roll out its roulette, card tables and slot machines, and give its western neighbour Nepal as well as far flung competitors like Goa a run for its money.

The permission, granted by the State Government, is a provisional licence that enables the Royal Plaza to run casino till it is fully classified as a five-star hotel by the Tourism Ministry.

Original licence will be issued to the Royal Plaza only after it fulfills the norms of a five-star hotel within five years as per the Ministerial guidelines.

Mr Naresh Subba, the director of Royal Plaza hotel, said, ''With the provisional licence, I can start the casino now.

This is the first land-based live casino in India. It can begin anytime now.'' In case you are ready with your money in this 'game of gamble', as Mr Subba puts it, you have to hold your chips for at least the last week of this month.

''We are planning a soft launch of the casino. We are waiting for Chief Minister Pawan Chamling to come from his trip. We propose to have him to formally inaugurate the casino, '' Mr Subba said.

He also stressed on the steps taken by the Chief Minister to make Sikkim as a major tourism hub and expressed his gratitude for choosing the Royal Plaza for the casino.

The humble opening plan means that the hotel first wants to play its cards carefully till the final showdown, when all the games are in place in an enlarged version.

Once the formal opening is done, 40 slot machines, blackjack, poker, baccarat tables and manually controlled roulette awaits those having a taste for financial adventure.

A tour of the prototype casino hall was given by the director to media last evening. ''This casino hall is just a prototype. We will be shifting it in a larger space on the lower level floor of the hotel'', Mr Subba informed.

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