India’s COVID-19 Crisis Forces Casinos in Goa to Close

A surge of COVID-19 cases in India has forced one of the country’s largest gaming companies, Delta Corp, to close its casinos in Goa.

deltin royale

Casinos in Goa, such as the Deltin Royale, are closed due to rising COVID-19 case numbers in India. (Image: Joegoauk Goa/Flickr)

The number of people infected with COVID-19 in India hit 20 million this week. A further 357,229 new cases were reported today, prompting calls for a nationwide lockdown.

Regional lockdowns are in place, including in Goa, where India’s biggest floating casinos are based. As such, Delta Corp has announced that its venues will remain closed until May 10.

National lockdown looming as COVID-19 surges

Although the effectiveness of nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) is a matter of debate, lockdowns have become a matter of practice in Europe and North America.

These measures have hurt the gambling industries in those regions. Even with deaths close to single digits in countries such as the UK, most casinos in Europe remain closed. Compared to their counterparts in Europe, India’s casinos have been largely unaffected by COVID-19 restrictions. However, with hospitals under pressure due to rising infections, they’re now facing a similar fate to those in Europe.

india covid cases

India’s COVID-19 infections are on the rise. (Image: Worldometers)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has, so far, resisted calls for another nationwide lockdown. The economic toll of similar measures in March 2020 were, in his opinion, too much to bear. Indeed, data from India’s first major lockdown shows that 75 million people were pushed into poverty. This was due to a lack of work and financial support for those classed as “day-wage workers.”

Despite the economic consequences, Modi may have no choice but to change his position and put the country on lockdown.

India’s casinos may be closed for longer than expected

If that happens, India’s casinos, include Delta’s Deltin Royale, may remain closed for longer than anticipated. In fact, given the severity of the situation, Delta Corp’s May 10 reopening date seems overly optimistic.

That date does align with the easing of Goa’s regional lockdown. However, as we’ve seen elsewhere in the world, a week of restrictions often isn’t enough to flatten the curve.

Going back to the UK as an example, casinos across England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland have been closed since January. Despite more than 50% of the population receiving at least one vaccine shot and just one recorded COVID death on Monday, casinos can’t reopen until later this month.

The UK’s measures may be overly cautious and restrictive, but India’s optimism may be slightly out of line with reality. Unless the infection rate drops dramatically within the next six days, it’s hard to see how casinos in Goa can reopen based on the current standards for NPIs elsewhere in the world.

Written by
Daniel Smyth
Dan Smyth is a poker media journeyman who politely reminds CardsChat readers that poker is played all around the world, not just America.

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