The only listed casino operator in India, Delta Corp., wants to build an integrated resort (IR) in the state of Goa. It would include a convention center, a water park, retail space and, of course, a casino. However, it isn’t willing to move forward unless the state government makes a significant concession.
According to the company’s chairman, Jaydev Mody, the IR could be added to the state’s landscape if the government agrees to a policy change that would see the area’s floating casinos move onshore. In speaking with the Economic Times, he indicated that any plans, as well as the level of investment, for Goa hinge completely on the approval of the policy.
“It is a win-win for everybody, for the government, for the people and for the industry. It makes a lot of sense…I do not see any reason why we cannot keep growing at that pace in the future. The business is there and we will keep growing. We just have to keep innovating and keeping our product and quality of service right up there,” Mody explained.
The government is said to be contemplating a policy change that would allow the floating casinos to move out of the Mandovi River and into another area. The most likely candidate would be a zone that is close to the airport in Goa, which would facilitate easy international travel.
Delta owns three floating casinos in the region and has seen compound average growth of between 20-25% over the past decade. It also owns a property in Sikkim and has applied for a license for a casino in a resort in the Union Territory of Daman. The company, which is the parent company of online gambling operator Addd52, is also currently expanding into Nepal.
One of the major issues with any expansion in Goa is centered on taxes. Mody emphasized that casinos are “crazily taxed,” adding, “If the government realises that there is a multi-billion dollar business out there in gaming — but it is all grey market or below the radar — and they tax it appropriately, it would all come into the organised sector and then the business can grow. It already exists. The market is there.”