A casino operator in the Indian state of Goa has bought an Illinois riverboat casino to serve as a temporary platform while its other floating casinos are being repaired.
On Thursday, the Times of India reported that the Casino Pride Group had welcomed the arrival of the Argosy IV riverboat casino, which was put up for sale by its owner for $8.5m earlier this year.
Before dropping anchor in Illinois, the three-deck Argosy IV (pictured) plied its gaming trade on waterways in Kansas City, Missouri and Sioux City, Iowa. In September, the boat was towed to New Orleans, where it was loaded onto a semi-submersible boat before making the trip to India.
Pride Group already operates two floating casinos in Goa, Casino Pride I and Casino Pride II, as well as the Casino Paradise in the Neo Majestic hotel in the state’s legislative capital Porvorim. The Argosy IV’s arrival in Goa’s Mandovi river sparked concern in some quarters that the state government had issued an additional floating casino license.
Pride Group director Shrinivas Nayak rejected these rumors, saying the company had bought Argosy IV as a “substitute” gaming platform for when the company’s original ships are sent to dry dock for maintenance and repairs next year. Since this work will be lengthy, the company felt it wise to have some way of keeping their floating casino business going.
For years now, Goa’s government has been struggling to find a more permanent home for its six floating casinos. The current plan is to transfer all floating casino operations to a designated land-based gaming zone, which was originally supposed to happen by 2020, although the government recently said this shift might not happen until 2022.
Delta Corp, which operates three casinos in the state, recently challenged the government to let the company build a major integrated resort in Goa rather than simply shift its shipboard operations to a local gaming hall.
The government reportedly plans to introduce legislation in the winter session outlining the specifics of the planned casino zone near the in-development Mopa International Airport. Members of the opposition Congress party have suggested the government should auction off the right to operate in this zone rather than simply allow current casino licensees to transfer their operations.