The Indian state of Goa is preparing to finally rescue the floating casino that has been stuck on a Mandovi river sandbar since July.
Earlier this week, the Goa Herald reported that the MV Lucky 7, which ran aground this summer while being towed to its intended mooring spot on the Mandovi, was almost at the point where it could be towed to a dry-dock in Jaigad for further repairs.
The MV Lucky 7 was set to become the state’s sixth ‘offshore’ casino but owner Golden Globe Hotels decided to launch the vessel just prior to the arrival of the local monsoon season, reportedly against the advice of local port officials.
Continued bad weather has hampered salvage operations, but an unnamed official told the Herald that the underwater welding necessary to patch the MV Lucky 7’s hull was “in the final stages.” With the boat “almost in an upright position” after pumping out the two meters of sand and water that had accumulated inside the vessel, the boat is expected to finally be towed away this weekend.
Restoring the 5k-ton MV Lucky 7 to a seaworthy state will take another two to three months but a source at the State Secretariat said that once the repairs are made – and assuming Golden Globe pays its environmental damage bill – the boat “will be allowed to operate as an offshore casino.” Golden Globe apparently plans to rebrand the vessel as Big Daddy to avoid association with its inauspicious beginnings.
All of Goa’s shipboard casinos are floating on borrowed time, as the Goa government has declared that the vessels must bring their gaming operations ashore by 2020. In the meantime, the search continues for a less contentious waterway that the floating casinos can call home.
This week, members of the opposition Congress party again demanded some clarity from the BJP-led state government regarding plans to find a new temporary home for the floating casinos. Congress is demanding that the government first obtain local approval for any relocation, although ‘not in my backyard’ attitudes have proved the primary sticking point to date in identifying a new casino hub.