Gambling and betting of all were banned in India, thanks to a law passed by the British in 1867. The Public Gambling Act of 1867 is in force in most parts of the country, even after 150 years since it was passed. However, the law is not applicable to online casinos, which operate from foreign countries. Players can visit websites like casinoexpert.in to find which are the best online casinos available for Indian players.
After independence, the constitution empowered the states to form their own laws regarding gambling, and Goa became the first state to legalize gambling in 1976. However, as the casino was illegal on Indian land under the federal law, casinos were given permission to operate on water, as a bypass to this law, as the law only mentions `Indian land´. This ushered in the era of off-shore casinos in Goa, many of which are operational to date.
M V Caravela was the first off-shore casino to start operations in Goa in the year 2000, as a floating hotel moored off the coast of Panjim, on the river Mandovi. However, the law has been amended since then, paving the way for land-based casinos to operate in five-star hotels. Today, there are about 16 casinos in Goa, 6 of which are off-shore, and the rest operating within five-star hotels.
Off-shore casinos in Goa
The off-shore casinos currently operational in Goa include
- Big Daddy casino, also known as Maharaja casino
- Deltin Royale
- Casino Pride
- Deltin Jaqk
- Deltin Caravela
- Casino Pride 2
Entry fees and facilities
The off-shore casinos of Goa are open 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week. The entry fees vary depending on the vessel, as well as the day of the week. It can start from as low as ₹1000 on a weekday, and go up to ₹5000 on the weekends for the premium VIP packages.
Usually, the entry fee includes an unlimited and lavish free buffet meal, depending on which time of the day you visit, and unlimited beverages, both alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic, are served on the playing tables. The entry fee also includes one-time play chips, which cannot be encashed but can be used to bet on any of the games. Evenings are usually filled with fanfare, with entertainment programs including live performances. Casinos like the Big Daddy and Casino Pride are known to hold some of the biggest gambling tournaments in the country, including the Indian Poker Championship, and the National Poker Series.
Some casinos also have a kids play area, where the children of the patrons can have a fun time, while their parents try their luck at the games.
As for the dress code, all casinos encourage smart casual or formal attire, and shorts, sleeveless t-shirts, or flip flops are a strict no-no.
Games available on off-shore casinos
Off-shore casinos of Goa have a full palette of games, both Indian as well as western. These include many variations of poker, blackjack, baccarat as well as roulette. There are also many types of slot games, for those willing to try their luck.
Indian card games have always been firm favorites of gamblers, and they won’t be disappointed in Goa, as most casinos offer Teen Patti, Andar Bahar, as well as Paplu.
Although land-based casinos outnumber the off-shore casinos in Goa, the latter remains a big draw for the tourists due to its novelty factor. There have been talks of moving these casinos from Panjim to another location, due to opposition from the locals as well as the land-based casinos. In any case, UFABET will continue to contribute immensely to Goa’s revenues and tourism.