India’s casinos were hit just as hard by the recent global pandemic as the rest of the world. One offshore casino in particular was having extra difficulties getting back to normalcy because of alleged environmental contumacy that caused ceasing operations. It took appealing before the Indian Supreme Court to undo the decision by the local environmental body.
Offshore Casino Had to Cease Operations But Fought Back
India’s largest gaming company, Delta Corp, had one of its smallest offshore casinos’ Deltin Caravela aka King Casino doors shut by NGT. Reasons cited in court revolved around the lack of coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearance. NGT ordered that Deltin Caravela cease all operations until a CRZ clearance was obtained by the parent company Highstreet Cruises and Entertainment Private Limited (HCEPL).
Delta Corp wasn’t backing down, stating that “Based on legal advice, the company believes that the HCEPL does not violate the CRZ Notification. HCEPL is pursuing legal remedies to challenge the order of the National Green Tribunal.”
A final resolution came after an appeal before the Supreme Court resulting in the casino seeing its operations restored.
Disputed Law at Heart of Issue
Activist Kashinath Shetye tipped the NGT about Delta’s operations in the River Mandovi citing CRZ violations. NGT then started their own procedure. At the heart of their case lies the identification of the casino and hotel as “foreshore facilities” which makes them subject to CRZ. After issuing the order to shut down Delta’s flotel operations, the next step in NGT’s plan was to task the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) with assessing the environmental damage caused. The following steps included developing an action plan to start ecological restoration and seeking compensation for the damages.
King Casino shut its doors on May 3 after an aborted May 1 appeal before the Bombay High Court. The plan to appeal before the Supreme Court was set in motion after that. By issuing a stay against the NGT order, the Supreme Court makes it possible for Delta to resume its operations in Mandovi.
Delta Corp has already made plans to increase its gaming capacity by replacing this very vessel. The expected growth will result in about a 2.5x increase in a gaming capacity.