Casinos in Goa Remain Shut amid Mounting COVID-19 Cases

Following a continuous increase in COVID-19 related cases, Goa officials have suspended gaming properties in the Indian state. 

Goa Orders Casinos in State to Shutdown 

Casinos in the state of Goa have been shut down since last Thursday as the country faces one of its worst health crises, and outside observers continue to criticize India for under-reporting the COVID-19 death toll. The measure was announced by Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant who said that only essential services would be allowed to continue operating. 

Numerous Delta Corp gaming properties have been temporarily closed, including its water and land-based businesses. Back in March, the company reported a stinging $3.2 million loss, making it one of the most heavily impacted entertainment companies by the pandemic. 

Delta Corp presently runs one land-based casino in the state and another one in Sikkim, along with three offshore properties. 

The mounting pressure on the country’s healthcare system has prompted officials in Goa to shutter operations at gaming venues along with bars, hotels, and restaurants. Some of these properties may be allowed to reopen this week, but infection rates will be closely monitored.

The state has now reported some 1,086 COVID-19-related deaths as of last week, but India as a whole posted 400,000 new cases last Saturday, the highest single-day count recorded globally.

COVID-19 Infections Rate Keep Goa’s Casino Industry on Ropes 

The soaring caseload comes amid reports that less than 10% of India’s population has received a first vaccine dose, making the country one of the heaviest hit by the pandemic. Goa has been hit hard by the pandemic in the past. In December, officials urged the local government to step up and suspend operations at casinos, citing increased caseload at such properties.

“The government is just trying to appease the lobby by allowing this trend to continue. We fear that if the chaos continues, Goa may witness a second COVID-19 wave sooner than later,” Goa Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Surel Tilve said at the time. 

Goa’s casinos had just had a chance to jump back in action after originally shutting down in March 2020 and reopening in November. They are facing new difficulties as India’s caseload continues to pose new challenges. When casinos were reintroduced, reports that casino-goers are breaching health protocols surfaced. 

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