Business Gaming

Delta Corp, Pride Group Contribute Rs. 51 Lakhs each for Goa’s Fight Against COVID-19

Goa’s leading casino operators, Delta Corp (Deltin Group) and Pride Casino Group have contributed Rs. 51 lakhs each to the Goa Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to support the state government’s fight against COVID-19.

Delta Corp’s President-Operations Anil Malani and Pride Group’s Managing Director Shrinivas Nayak handed over cheques of Rs. 51 lakhs each to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant yesterday.

Both Malani and Nayak added that besides the contribution, both their groups are taking care of the medications, medical devices, food and ration supplies of around 7,000 employees of the casino industry in Goa as well as police personnel and other stranded persons in the state.

Nayak stressed that this is not the time for the casino industry to calculate the losses caused due to the shutdown of all casinos in the state and that it is important to provide all possible support the efforts of the state government.

He noted that the Pride Group will support the government even if a further shutdown of casinos is ordered, beyond the 21-day national lockdown period that is ending on 14th April, 2020, if it is required in the interest of public health.

He further added that the Pride Group has paid full salary to all its employees for the month of March 2020 and would try to continue to do so even if the shutdown period of the casino industry in the state is extended beyond 14th April.

Commenting on the COVID-19 situation in the state and Delta Corp’s humanitarian efforts, the company’s chairman, Jaydev Mody stated, “We, at Deltin, have pledged our support in Goa’s fight against the coronavirus disease. These are challenging times for all and many remain vulnerable to the COVID-19. Deltin Group believes in creating awareness amongst general public about the pandemic and providing humanitarian aid to the needy. We are all in this together and the need of the hour is to watch each other’s back. Also, I would personally like to thank everyone on the frontlines working to combat COVID-19.”


Delta Corp Approves Rs.125 Crore Share Buy-Back Plan

The Board of Directors of Delta Corp Limited has approved a plan to buy-back shares of the company as per a regulatory filing by the company.

As per the company’s update to the stock exchanges, the board of directors at the company meeting held on 28th March, 2020 approved a proposal to buy-back upto 1.25 crore shares of the company, representing 4.61% of the total paid-up capital of the company, at a price not exceeding Rs. 100 per share, through the open market route. As per the last close, the company was trading at Rs. 59.50 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

The company has earmarked a total of upto Rs. 125 crores for the purpose of buy-back of shares and the promoters as well as persons in control of the company would not participate in the buyback scheme.

Delta Corp also indicated that it would utilise at least 50% of the total earmarked amount, i.e. at least Rs. 62.50 crores, for the buy-back. The company further announced that a Buy-Back Committee headed by Chairman Jaydev Mody would take all necessary actions and make appropriate announcements relating to the buy-back procedure.

The company has further stated that a public announcement with further details about the buy-back, including the opening and closing dates, would be communicated in due course.

Over the past one month, the company has seen a sharp fall in its stock price, mainly due to the impact of the Covid-19 virus as well as shutdown of all casinos ordered by the Goa and Sikkim government and the 21-day total lockdown announced by the Indian government.

Whilst all of Delta Corp’s offshore and land-based casinos are likely to remain shut at least until 15th April, 2020, the company has stated that the impact of the Coronavirus crisis on its revenues cannot be estimated at the moment.

Besides a buy-back plan to arrest the steep fall in share price of the company, Delta Corp had declared a Rs. 0.75 second interim dividend per equity share earlier this month.


Goans Banned from Casinos from 1st Feb, Gaming Commissioner Announced

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has announced that local Goans will be banned from entering and playing in casinos from 1st February, 2020 onwards.

The Chief Minister further announced that the Commercial Tax Commissioner has been designated as Gaming Commissioner under Section 13C of the Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act as amended in 2012 by later Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.

Sawant further announced that the newly designated Gaming Commissioner will be given the right to enter any casino in the state at any time and ask for identity proofs of people entering offshore and onshore casinos in the state.

It may be noted that the amendment to the Goa Gambling Act to insert provisions to appoint a Gaming Commissioner to oversee and regulate casinos in the state and ban locals from accessing casinos was passed by the Goa legislative assembly in 2012, but a formal notification to implement the same has not been issued till date.

Meanwhile, state ports minister Michael Lobo had earlier indicated that a long-pending circular to ban locals from entering casinos would be issued shortly and the Gaming Commissioner would be formally appointed before the state budget session in the legislative assembly next week.

Lobo had last week also stated that the pending Casino Policy of the state, that envisages shifting of the offshore casinos to a land zone near the upcoming Mopa airport will be taken up soon, once the ban on iron ore mining in the state imposed by the Supreme Court is lifted.

He added that a long-term policy to shift offshore casinos to a land zone as envisaged by Parrikar will be taken up by Chief Minister Sawant soon,


Goa Casino Policy on hold, to be Deliberated only after Mining Crisis is Resolved

Goa Ports Minister Michael Lobo while interacting with the press indicated that the long-pending Casino Policy of the state, that envisages shifting of the offshore casinos to a land zone near the upcoming Mopa airport, will not see the light of the day anytime soon.

Lobo stated that the top priority of the state government for the moment is resumption of iron ore mining in the state, which was abruptly stopped in March 2018 after the Supreme Court quashed all licenses issued by the state government.

The state government’s review petition in the Supreme Court on the mining issue is still pending while the state is also simultaneously lobbying with the central government to get appropriate amendments in the central Mines legislation.

The state minister noted that lakhs of people’s livelihood in Goa depends on mining and hence it would send a wrong message if the Chief Minister tries to bring in a Casino Policy before the mining issue is resolved.

When asked about the proposal to shift offshore casinos to land, the Minister said that it was a decision taken by former CM Manohar Parrikar. “Casino owners had agreed to the proposal but suggested that they should be given time and be allowed to have live gaming. The same was agreed by the then CM, who had said that soon we will come out with the Land Casino Policy for the State of Goa,” he said.

Lobo said that the policy is also pending and the same will be taken up by the chief minister shortly. He added that once the policy comes up, the offshore casinos will be shifted in phased manner. 

The Ports Minister added that the decision to streamline casino industry is important as it is part of the Goa’s tourism industry.

Lobo has strongly backed the casino industry in the state as it is linked to investment by several companies and the tourism industry in the state. In October 2019 also, Lobo had remarked that casinos are an important part of tourism of Goa and cannot be removed overnight.


Delta Corp Reports Flat Revenues, Lower EBIDTA, 9% jump in Net Profit

Listed online gaming and casino company Delta Corp Limited announced its results for the third quarter of financial year 2019-20.

The company declared that its consolidated net revenues for the period October-December 2019 was Rs. 205.13 crores, which was roughly the same as the revenues it earned for quarter three last year.

Delta’s EBIDTA however declined to Rs. 73.52 crores against Rs. 80.98 crores for the same quarter last year and Rs. 75.47 crores for the September 2019 quarter.

The company’s EBIDTA margin also fell sharply by 320 basis points from 41.7% for Q3 last year to 38.7% this year.

Despite the flattish revenues and reduction in margins, the company’s net profit increased by 9% year-on-year to Rs. 54.90 crores, largely on the back of increased other income and reduced corporate tax liability.

Delta’s wholly owned online gaming subsidiary, Adda52, reported total gross revenue of Rs. 40.29 crores for the quarter, against Rs. 37.05 crore for the same quarter last year, representing approximately 8% year-on-year increase.

Last week, the company had announced that its Nepal subsidiary, Deltin Nepal Private Limited had received a gaming license to operate a casino at the Marriott Hotel in Kathmandu, pursuant to a lease agreement signed with the hotel owners, Everest Hospitality and Hotels Private Limited. Delta Corp has expressed its intention to start casino operations in the five-star property shortly.


Puducherry on path to Legalise Casinos but LG expresses Opposition

The Union Territory of Puducherry may be on the path to legalise and permit casinos in the region after three years of dithering and deliberations.

As per media reports, although the elected government headed by Chief Minister V Narayanasamy has almost made up its mind to allow casinos in the state for the purpose of promoting tourism, Lieutenant Governor (LG) Kiran Bedi has raised objections to the proposal saying that the government should keep the ‘wolf of gambling’ away from a spiritual and pristine Puducherry.

Bedi also stated that allowing casinos will impact the quality of domestic and international tourists besides causing social problems.

Narayanasamy however claimed that Bedi does not have any authority to decide on whether casinos should be allowed in the territory and added that various locations like Goa, Sikkim, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore have casinos to attract tourists.

He added that the LG is working with a revengeful attitude and that Puducherry is in severe need of funds and permission to allow lotteries, casinos and breweries would bolster the state exchequer.

The Chief Minister however noted that the legislative assembly will take a final decision on whether casinos and breweries will be allowed in the state or not.

Notably, the Puducherry government has been toying with the idea of allowing casinos within its territory since 2016. Narayansamy had indicated in July 2016 after assuming charge as CM that he was open to allowing offshore casinos in the UT for promoting tourism, on the lines of Goa.

State Health & Tourism Minister Malladi Krishna Rao had also stated that the cabinet had discussed the issue and was looking at permitting casinos in Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam.  A delegation of government officials from Puducherry had also proposed an official study tour to Goa to evaluate the model of allowing casinos.

Besides casinos, the Puducherry government is also likely to look at restarting sale of state lotteries within and outside the UT to augment revenues.

Gaming Legal & Regulatory

Goa Casino Policy not finalised yet: Report

Contrary to several previous assertions by the Goa government under erstwhile Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar as well as current Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, no final decision has been taken so far on shifting offshore casinos to an alternative location or notification of a Goa casino policy.

According to a report in local daily Navhind Times, no alternative site could be zeroed in on shifting offshore casinos from the River Mandovi so far due to strong opposition from all corners.

It was earlier reported that Ports Minister Michael Lobo had given permission to one of the offshore casinos, Deltin Caravela to shift towards the Vernem side of the River Mandovi from the Panjim side, where it is currently located.

The proposal to shift Deltin Caravela and two other offshore casinos to the Vernem side, however met with stiff resistance from opposition leaders and locals.

The Navhind Times report also indicated that the state government is still dithering on its plan to formulate a detailed casino policy to shift offshore casinos to an entertainment zone near the upcoming Mopa airport.

According to Navhind Times sources said the state government has asked the home department to set in motion the process for drafting a casino policy, but not much progress has been made on that front so far.

Chief Minister Sawant as well as previous state cabinets have granted successive six month extensions to offshore casinos to operate in the River Mandovi while giving an assurance that the final long term policy on casinos would be decided by the government in a short time frame.


Big Daddy casino owner Gopal Kanda wins Haryana assembly elections

Controversial businessman and promoter of the Big Daddy casino in Goa, Gopal Kanda has won the recently held Haryana legislative assembly elections from his home town of Sirsa and has the unique distinction of being the first casino owner to have won an election in India.

As per the results declared by the Election Commission today, Kanda, who contested as a candidate of his own party, the Haryana Lokhit Party, won the election from Sirsa defeating his nearest rival and independent candidate Gokul Setia by a slender margin of 602 votes.

Kanda, an associate of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Ajay Chautala, first won from the Sirsa seat as an independent in 2009 and was a cabinet minister in the Congress-led Bhupinder Singh Hooda government. He lost the elections in 2014, but emerged victorious this time around.

The Haryana Lokhit Party supremo has business interests in real estate and owns a company called Golden Globe Hotels Pvt Ltd, which operates several hotels and malls as well as the recently restarted Big Daddy casino in Goa.

In 2005, he had started an airline company called MDLR, which later went bankrupt. Kanda has several criminal cases registered against him, including cases for abetment to suicide, criminal intimidation, criminal conspiracy, income tax evasion and cheque bouncing.

According to his election affidavit, Kanda, along with his wife Saraswati Devi own assets worth around Rs. 95.5 crores.

Since the election results have delivered a hung verdict, Kanda’s support will be crucial in deciding who forms the state government in Haryana.


Deltin Royale hosts third edition of WPT India

Offshore casino Deltin Royale in association with online poker website Adda52 hosted the third edition of the World Poker Tour (WPT) India from 15th-21st October, 2019 in Goa.

Following the success of the previous two editions, the 2019 WPT India edition featured eight events with buy-ins ranging from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 1 lakh held over the course of six days.

Four-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner Robert Mizrachi also attended and participated in this edition of WPT India as a special guest.

The tournament ended yesterday with the main event comprising of a Rs. 55,000 buy-in. The main event, which saw a total of 630 entries was won by PokerGuru ambassador Ashish Munot, who took home a total prize pool of Rs. 63.48 lakhs (which includes a US$3,500 WPT Passport).

Yuvraj Chaudhary finished second place and won Rs. 42.77 lakhs while Jai Saha came in at third position, taking home Rs. 27.53 lakhs.

While a total prizepool of Rs. 3.25 crores was guaranteed by the organisers for the main event, total prizes worth Rs. 3.28 crores were distributed, with WPT India receiving more entries than required to meet the guaranteed prizepool.

Commenting on the event, Manish Adnani, Business Head of Poker at Delta Corp Ltd. noted, “WPT India is back for the third time, here in Goa. It’s been a good start right from the beginning, with prize pools growing organically. We hope to propel the fabric to the next level, hopefully setting the benchmark for live poker events for the decade.”

Newly appointed Adda52 CEO Naveen Goyal explained the company’s participation in the event, “Being a category leader in online poker, has always invested in offering the best user experience to its poker players across online and offline channels. After two successful editions of WPT, it continues to be the exclusive partner for WPT 2019 and maintain the international standards of the game.”


Delta Corp quarterly profit sees 22% y-o-y growth

India’s only listed casino and online gaming company Delta Corp Limited, announced its quarterly results for the period July-September 2019 yesterday.

The casino company reported a total revenue (including GST) of Rs. 252.76 crores against a revenue of Rs. 236.78 crores for the last quarter and Rs. 254.13 crores for the September 2018 quarter.

Delta Corp reported a marginal increase in its online gaming revenues from online poker and rummy website Adda52 to Rs. 40.93 crores, which reflects around Rs. 5 crore increase against the online gaming revenues from the last quarter as well as the September 2018 quarter.

Despite a 0.1% in the year-on-year reduction in the net post GST revenue of the company, Delta recorded a 22% uptick in the profit after tax.

The profit after tax recorded by the company was Rs. 59.04 crores as against a PAT of Rs. 48.10 crores for the September 2018 quarter.

The increase in PAT despite flattish revenues is mainly attributed to the reduction of corporate income tax rates by the central government from 30% to 22%.