More than half the tourists who visit Goa wish to stay near the very popular beaches of Calangute and Baga. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that the Pride casino group decided to open a casino right there. Its a wonderful idea and I really wish that it had been wonderfully executed also. To begin with, there was this unsavoury controversy that Hotel La Calypso, that houses Casino Palms, was given a five star category licence only so that it could have a casino on its grounds. That controversy is eventually forgotten but I do not know why the Pride casino group continues to run casino Palms as if it is a temporary business that can be shut down at any time. The casino is open 24 hours and could have been a non-stop party venue in the Baga / calangute area, but its not. Keep reading…
Also read: Goa’s Best Onshore Casino – Strike Casino
Its like a casino running out of a garage that La Calypso hurriedly vacated and handed over to the Pride people. Hotel La Calypso is at a walkable distance from the beautiful and lively Baga beach. The hotel’s own entrance is through a small lane away from the main road but perhaps the garage that was turned into the casino had its shutters opening towards the main road. Maybe using the word “garage” is too harsh on my part. It could as well have been a showroom of readymade garments on the main road and a backside entry into the hotel. Just See the picture above of the main entry of the casino.
As you enter through the main door of the casino, you step into a small corridor. The entire casino, including the onsite restaurant, operates from two big rooms which are on either sides of this corridor. If you walk through the corridor without stopping, you will go out towards some wash rooms that are meant for the use of casino guests. On one side in the corridor there are a couple of tables that look like a temporary front desk. You pay the entry fee there and then are allowed to enter a casino room, left or right, as per your choice. If you need to go from one casino room to the other, you need to cross the corridor again. One of the two casino rooms has a restaurant attached where buffet lunch and dinner are served free for casino guests. Free buffet lunch is unique to Pride Casino group in Goa. In Casino Palms, the quality of the food is good and the service is even better. The staff really run around getting fresh tandoori breads, water bottles, etc. for the guests on dining tables. Apart from the dining tables, there is a Roulette table and a few slot games in this room.
The other side room, maybe we can call this one a hall, is where much of the casino action happens. There are more Roulette tables there apart from some Baccarat, 3 Card Poker, Blackjack, Money Wheel tables, and a few slot machines. All the slot machines here have minimum bets of INR 10 per line. Cash-out from a slot requires a request to an attendant who will use his master key to lock the pay-out and then go over to the cash counter to bring your cash while you wait at the slot machine. Minimum bets on table games start at INR 100. The usual free drinks/snacks on the gaming tables are available here too but the free quantity is limited. The guests are given coupons after paying entry fee and these coupons have to be exchanged for buffet/drinks/snacks, etc. Only the house brands of drinks are given for free and the range is just basic.
Entry fee to casino Palms costs INR 1000 during weekdays and weekends. The weekend ticket also includes a free Pride T-shirt (white or grey) that is given as the guests leave the casino. The government entry levy of INR 700 per person is also included in the entry ticket for which a separate government receipt is given. As per the Law, all casino guests are required to keep this levy receipt, issued for a particular date, as long as they are inside the casino.
An entry ticket also entitles a visitor to a chance at winning at a draw that is held at 2.00am every night. The guest needs to be present in the casino when the draw is held. Three prizes in One Time Play Chips are given which are INR 5000, 10000, & 20000 on weekdays and 10000, 20000, & 30000 on weekends. In addition to the lucky draw, all women guests present in the casino at 12.00am, 2.00am, and 4.00am, also get a free OTP chip of INR 500 just for being there at that time.
Gaming In The Casino
Being an over-land casino, real playing cards are not permitted. Only the digital versions of the games are available here, including for the card games like Blackjack, for 3 Card Poker. The cards appear as digital images in front of the players and the dealers. The Roulette tables are more real. Bets in the casino are to be placed with actual plastic chips and cash-outs can be taken from the cash counter. Digital games, their rules & pay-outs, etc. are sometimes different from the live table games available in floating casinos and hence the players need to understand the games before they start putting their money down. I tried 3 Card Poker and a few spins on the slot machines and found them both to be hard to beat.
Overall, Casino Palms is not one of the most exciting casinos in Goa but its location is really convenient if you happen to be staying in a hotel in Calangute / Baga area.
A trip to Casino Palms can be useful if you are in a group of friends and your idea of being there is not to gamble too much but just to have some good time. Anyway, nobody goes to a casino to lose money, and to be able to win something you need to be having fun as long as you are there. Alcoholic drinks and a good company always help but never drink too much. Try leaving a casino (any casino) when you are winning. That is better than first winning and then losing it all back. Also read: Goa’s Best Onshore Casino – Strike Casino and The Messed Up Casino Industry of Goa