Don’t look now, but the operator of the Goa floating casino that ran aground earlier this year has struck a deal to set sail on another vessel.
This week, the Times of India reported that Golden Globe Hotels Pvt Ltd would be transferring its gaming operations from the currently unseaworthy MV Lucky 7 to the MV San Domino, a vessel that has been moored for the last eight years awaiting a casino license.
If you’re just joining us, the MV Lucky 7 ran aground in July after Golden Globe ignored warnings about launching the vessel during monsoon season. Goa officials had only just approved the MV Lucky 7’s license in March, allowing it to join the other floating casinos plying their trade on the Mandovi River.
It took several months, but the MV Lucky 7 was finally shifted from its sandbar and is currently under repair. Rather than let its license sit idle, Golden Globe has applied to shift its operations to the MV San Domino.
The San Domino is owned by the Essel Group, which had hoped to launch gaming operations aboard the ship under the Casino Maharaja brand. However, while the ship is already kitted out for casino operations, it has yet to take a single wager due to Essel Group’s inability to secure a Goa gaming license.
An unidentified Golden Globe director (hopefully not the one pictured in red) told the Times that the company had leased the San Domino for one year, and the plan was to launch operations “sometime in mid-January 2018, probably after we compete the interiors.” The state government has been asked to approve Golden Globe using the MV Lucky 7’s jetty as a mooring point.
The MV Lucky 7’s launch was highly controversial, given that Goa’s government has been trying to run all six floating casinos permanently aground, as part of the state’s plan to transition to an all land-based gaming market by 2020.
The state had promised to reveal its new casino policy this month, but Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said Thursday that, while the amended Goa Gambling Act is done, it now won’t be issued until the new year, apparently due to the need to run it by his cabinet ministers.
The shift onshore will only grow the local casino industry, according to Anil Malani, CEO of Delta Corp, which operates four Goa casinos (three floating, one land-based). Local media quoted Malani saying (essentially) that shipboard casinos were a pain in the ass to operate and that he was looking forward to the landward journey.
Malani said Delta’s current Goa operations were “completely strained for capacity” but the water-borne constraints “will eventually fall” once the move onshore is complete. In the meantime, Malani is excited at the possibility that Delta “could be building maybe, five times, 10 times next year. So we can actually plan for years to come.”