As COVID-19 is impacting the world, Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane recently said that he will write to the owners and management of all the casinos in the state to take precautionary measures.
“The rules that apply to all will be applicable to them (casinos). The airports already have started showing a decrease of tourists. But since many people come to casinos, I will be personally writing to them to ensure hygiene practices are put in place. As a government, we cannot directly stop people from coming, but indirectly we can hint to them,” said Rane.
Most of the games played in casinos involve high level of contact with other players and staff through playing cards, chips, slot machines, etc. Therefore, this industry is severely hit amid the novel coronavirus scare. Goa’s tourism industry is largely dependent on casinos and foriegn tourists.
Recently, the organisers of the gaming conference SPiCE India 2020, which was to be hosted at Goa Marriott Resort & Spa from 25-27th March, announced that the event will be postponed amid cancellation of all foreign visas by the Indian government due to the impact of COVID-19.
In a comment to The Indian Express, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said “Precautions are in place at Goa airport and we are ensuring that all guidelines are followed. In that sense, we are ensuring quarantines are in place. We will be ensuring we look into casinos and ensure the rules are followed.”
Goa has seven offshore casinos on the river Mandovi, which are to be moved to an alternative location, on which no final decision has been made by the state’s government. Goa’s government also recently gave a nod to the ninth onshore casino in Goa. From February 1st of this year, locals were banned from Goa casinos.