Goa-ing for broke

Will Goa become the Indian Las Vegas, the Macau of Hindustan, or the Atlantic City of Baharat? According to Clickwalla, that might be in the cards:

Goa, India’s beach paradise, is set to become the country’s gambling capital after local politicians said the state would allow 10 more floating casinos to operate off its shores.

The tiny former Portuguese colony is the only state in the country to allow casinos. However, local opposition in the last three decades has limited gambling to one floating casino and a clutch of five-star hotels with slot machines.

Driving the new policy is the rising numbers of tourists – the state’s 1.3 million population becomes a minority in the peak season. Dilraj Kaur, a civil servant for the state’s home ministry, said: “We are looking to catch some of these tourist dollars flowing into the state. Operators [of the new casinos] will have to get licences from a number of authorities but we expect that within a year they will start.”

Gambling remains largely frowned on by Indian society, although the country has long had a horse-racing culture patronised by the wealthy. In recent years, hotel chains have lobbied to change the law, pointing out that tourists often go instead to Nepal and Sri Lanka , where gambling is permitted.

In many ways, Goa aims to replicate the success of another former tiny Portuguese enclave, Macau , which reinvented itself as the gambling capital of the South China Sea , attracting more than 4 million people a year.

There are also signs that Indian entrepreneurs are quietly eroding the law. Next year a gambling website set up by businessmen will host the country’s first big poker tournament, in Goa .

Clickwalla.com – The Uk’s Leading Asian Portal – Goa Agrees to Big Growth in Casinos

All I can say is that if the entertainment is half as good as the cobra dance, Goa will be raking in some serious gaming revenue.

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