Casinos in Goa are set to open to vacationers once more from Monday. People who’re “either fully vaccinated or those with a RTPCR report should be allowed” into these casinos, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant stated on Saturday.
He stated the state authorities’s professional committee has opined that casinos, spas, therapeutic massage parlours can reopen however main occasions such because the Sunburn music pageant haven’t but been permitted.
“The (state government’s) expert committee compared the (Covid-19) positivity rate over the last two-three weeks and it has been under 2 percent. In order to revive economic activity and tourism activity, casinos have been allowed to reopen on Monday with strict SOPs (standard operating procedures),” Sawant stated.
Dr Shekhar Salkar, a member of the professional committee, stated reopening of casinos, river cruises, therapeutic massage parlours and spas was advisable in compliance of all Covid-19 security protocols, and that the federal government is predicted to concern the SOPs for reopening on Sunday.
Goa has six offshore casinos on Mandovi river, off state capital Panaji, and a few dozen others run inside main resorts. Casinos, which make use of 1000’s of individuals and generate sizable income for the state authorities, are anticipated to breathe life into the state’s tourism trade, which has seen solely a slight uptick since July.
With the reopening of casinos, allied vacationer actions reminiscent of resorts, eating places, taxi companies might all see their companies choosing up as peak vacationer season units in subsequent month, trade stakeholders stated.
According to sources, the state authorities’s common annual incomes in licence charges from casinos is greater than Rs 320 crore — together with this, the federal government earns approximately Rs 1,000 crore in taxes for allied actions reminiscent of eating places, resorts, vacationer autos, and many others.
The offshore casinos on the Mandovi additionally pay entry charges and native taxes to the Corporation of the City of Panaji and about Rs 25 lakh for licenses to the Excise Department. The Excise Department additionally earns a consumption obligation on each bottle of alcohol consumed within the casinos, sources stated.
The casinos which have develop into an integral a part of tourism in Goa, drawing each home and worldwide vacationers.
Shrinivas Nayak, director, Majestic Pride Group, which operates the Majestic Pride Casino on the Mandovi , stated: “It has been a very hard time. In the first lockdown, we were shut for about seven months. This time, it was for about four months and 20 days. We (Majestic Pride Casino) have nearly 2,500 employees and we could not have laid them off. That is not human. We had no revenue but we still had to bear 70-80 percent of our expenses. The lockdown was uncertain and it kept extending week by week.”
He stated, “The government was losing revenue in terms of GST and license fees. This is a big percentage of revenue for a small state. On average, casinos provide Rs 50 crore to Rs 80 crore per month revenue to the state government in direct revenue, the Centre gets the same revenue, and there is also indirect revenue that comes from hotel occupancy, which will increase their GST.”
Stating that issues have began to move in the precise course, Travel and Tourism Association of Goa president Nilesh Shah stated, “With casinos reopening, almost 14,000 people working in the industry will get a boost. In addition, the hotel industry in Panaji and in North Goa will also get a boost. Right now their occupancy is about 20-30 percent.”
On Saturday, there have been 771 energetic Covid-19 circumstances in Goa and two deaths had been reported. The check positivity fee within the state on Saturday was 2.18 p.c.