Reopening Casinos Does Not Guarantee Visitors
Industry leaders express worry that the streak of losses might continue hurting one of Goa's primary economic motors.
Major Casino Owner Remains in a Difficult Position
It would be difficult to estimate footfalls after casino operations resume once again upon authority permission, said Delta Corp Ltd's CEO Anil Malani speaking to the Indo-Asian News Service. The number of visitors depends on various factors such as restrictions on casino capacity, travel rules, and overall public attitude, the company senior officer added. He also expressed hope that a third coronavirus wave will be kept under control thanks to India's mass vaccination effort.
The chief executive officer assured that the whole Deltin workforce of 2,500 people have already received their vaccinations against Covid-19. The company has also implemented all necessary preparations to observe the full scale of health and safety regulations prescribed by the government.
Delta Corp Ltd is the only Indian publicly listed casino operator with a total of 1,800 gaming positions. The company or its subsidiaries own one of the around dozen land-based and three of the six offshore casinos in Goa, together with one casino in Sikkim. Delta recently put into operation an international casino in Nepal and has several undergoing projects with pending casino license applications. The company also has an online branch after the acquisition of online poker site Adda52 and online rummy site Adda52Rummy.
Despite its online presence, Delta Corp reported ₹ 35.43 crore of pre-tax loss (₹ 28.93 crore consolidated net loss) for the second-wave-struck first quarter of the new fiscal year. Figures are almost identical to Q1 FY 2020-2021 - pre-tax loss of ₹ 34.78 crore and a consolidated net loss of ₹ 28.24 crore.
Goa Casino and Lottery Sectors Were on the Rise Before the Pandemic Struck
The first casinos in the small coastal state started operating in 1992 and the industry gradually grew in importance and influence. By the end of the 2010s, after a continuous annual growth of around 30 per cent, the casinos in the state had an average total of 15,000 visitors every day.
Financially, the last two full fiscal years before the pandemic filled Goa state coffers with ₹ 330 crore (FY 2017-2018) and ₹ 414 crore (FY 2018-2019) marking a 25.5 per cent year-to-year growth in revenue.
Despite the fact that Goa closed down its mining industry, the direct and indirect effects of the casino sector on other segments of the local economy such as tourism, entertainment and other connected business activities have led to higher employment rates and India's highest per capita Gross Domestic Product.
In 1995, the Goa Lotteries Directorate initiated a state lottery promoting various social welfare schemes benefiting the poor, elderly and underprivileged citizens. In 2006, the Directorate was merged with the National Savings Organization into the Directorate of Small Savings and Lotteries.
In 2010, the Directorate initiated an online lottery through an announcement in the State Gazette by appointing a sole agent for the purpose. Despite the name, online lotteries in India are typically based on paper tickets sold through vast small retailer networks, but numbers are tracked through an online server. Gambling sites in India like PureWin.com offers lottery tickets online
Lottery is the most frequent form of gambling in the state with 67.8 per cent of answers from the 45.4 per cent of all survey respondents who admitted to having gambled at least once in the past year.
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