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Goa set to restrict the right of locals to gamble at casinos next year

George Miller

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Goa set to restrict the right of locals to gamble at casinos next year
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There are set to be rather dramatic changes in the Indian state of Goa next year, following an announcement that only tourists are set to be able to gamble in the state’s casinos.

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said over the weekend that government is aiming to restrict locals on account of gambling ruining the society.

Opposition parties and civil society organisations have long called for a ban on local gambling at Goa’s casinos, and the move doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Speaking on the ban, Parrikar stated: “as a policy, Goans will not be permitted to enter the casino’s playing areas and only visiting tourists shall be permitted”.

It is not yet clear just how the new policy will be implemented, but the ban looks set to get into full swing next year, with January being mooted as the starting point for the new laws to come into effect. The chief minister announced that many of Panaji’s offshore (floating) casino would be moved out of the region, and no new ones would be permitted to take their place.

The Government of Goa is likely to move the casinos on to new zones, with any further licenses for those casino owners being determined by whether or not they express a willingness to move on within a year’s time. Business is set to be reduced by as much as 50% following the change in the law, according to Kundan Shetye, one of the onshore casino owners.

The move to ban gambling for locals comes after many years of fighting the gambling industry in Goa. The ruling BJP party has had designs on ending the right of locals to gamble since they were in opposition back in 2007. After coming to power in 2012, they were even accused of working with the casino industry before the passing of the most recent bill.

As well as the shift to offshore areas, new licenses are set to cost more than ever before, with a massive hike in fees. Floating offshore casinos may be furious that they are being pushed on elsewhere, but the move is most likely to damage the land-based casinos which operate out of hotels and resorts the most. They are unable to be “moved on” and will be banned from offering their services to locals. As a result, only tourists will be permitted to play in such venues. With Goa’s tourist industry in decline, there is a genuine possibility that such casinos would be unable to survive.

Land-based casinos are trying to force the local government into organising a gaming commission, which would be able regulate the industry better and thus make it safer, avoiding the need for the ban. Thus far, they have not had much luck. Many of the land- based casino owners insist that they wouldn’t mind paying more substantial fees for licenses if the array of games they could offer (such as live table games) was increased told us Live Casino Reports India. All efforts to break the impasse and find another way around the ban have thus far either been rejected or fallen by the wayside due to other means.

At the time of writing, it certainly doesn’t seem as though the land-based and floating casinos in Goa are going to be able to overturn the government’s decision. Local players in Goa are going to have to get used to not being able to play casino games, and while many gamblers may follow the floating casinos elsewhere, those players who relied on land- based casinos to offer their services are well and truly stuck.

Asia

Sands China Obtains Exemptions on Credit Facility

Niji Narayan

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Sands China Obtains Exemptions on Credit Facility
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Sands China Ltd, the Macau subsidiary of Las Vegas Sands, has made changes to the terms of a US$ 2.0 billion loan facility that it owns.

The revolving unsecured credit facility was approved by Sands China in November 2018 and it is valid until July 31, 2023. The facility involves a host of banks and has Bank of China Ltd, Macau Branch, as the lenders’ representative.

The revised terms allow for the agent and borrowers to “waive any default that may arise as a result of any breach of the requirements” even in the restated form.

The other changes are the following: the borrowers waiving Sands China’s conditions to ensure that its combined leverage ratio on the last day of any quarter does not exceed 4 to 1; and the combined interest coverage ratio on the last day of any quarter is greater than 2.5 to 1.

The lenders also decided to “extend the period of time during which the company may supply the [lenders’] agent with its audited consolidated financial statements for the financial year ended on December 31, 2019; to April 30, 2020;” with a similar loosening of the deadline for disclosing the results of the 2020 financial year – namely to April 30, 2021.

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Asia

Cambodian PM Orders Shut Down of Casinos

Niji Narayan

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Cambodian PM Orders Shut Down of Casinos
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Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered that all casinos in the country should be shut down as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus.

Under measures introduced by the Ministry of Economy and Finance to combat the spread of COVID-19, all casinos in the country have to close its operations from 11.59 pm on Wednesday 1 April until further notice with the government to “take action in accordance with the law in force accordingly” against any operators that fail to comply.

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Asia

Osaka Extends Casino RFP Deadline

Niji Narayan

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Osaka Extends Casino RFP Deadline
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The Government of Osaka prefecture has extended the casino RFP deadline by three months in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Osaka Government announced last week that it will allow three more months as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic. The government is still hopeful of realizing its 2026 goal for starting an IR, but the present health scenario is likely to force further delays.

Along with the delay in RFP, the decision on choosing a private-sector partner to participate in the project will also be pushed back.

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