1 Jun 2020

Goa CM Says Casinos Will Not Reopen Anytime Soon

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant says casinos won't open soon

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has said that the state government has no plans to allow the reopening of the Goan casinos soon.

While new central government guidelines allowing for substantial loosening of many sectors of the economy, casinos - like cinema halls, bars, and international flights - will remain closed.

In an interview with The Times of India, Sawant was asked about the state's casinos and confirmed that there are no plans to restart them anytime soon.

All casinos in Goa were ordered shut from 15 March 2020. This was more than a week before the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Casinos across the Indian subcontinent, including those in Sikkim, Nepal and Sri Lanka, have remained shut since March and there is no indication that any will open in the next couple of months.

The casino industry has suffered heavy losses due to the shutdown, with the casino sector in Goa having let go of over 1,000 employees and made heavy pay cuts to salaries of the remaining staff.

Many in the industry are resigned to the fact that it would be difficult for the casinos to restart operations any time before July or August.

Strict social distancing rules and curbs to prevent large scale social, religious, cultural or sports gatherings remain in place by the government.

There will also be concern from the Goa casinos that they may not be able to reopen before 30 September - the date a fresh six-month extension to operate runs out - leaving their whole future in jeopardy.

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