Casino gambling is always a serious issue, and it is even more serious in Goa because of the stiff opposition to the existence of casino gambling here by a section of the population. I do not know if I am wrong but I think that the erstwhile Portuguese colonies anywhere in the world end up depending on casino gambling for the betterment of their economies. Maybe the Portuguese just exploited their colonies and never did anything to develop them economically. Coming back to casino gambling in Goa, I would like to say first that I have no personal objections, religious or political, to casino gambling in general. But I know that casino gambling by ‘problem gamblers’ ends up ruining their own lives and also of their families. Therefore, a few things needs to be said before I guide anyone into the world of Goa’s casinos. To make my job easier, I will just quote these beautiful lines from the Hollywood movie ‘Casino’ spoken by the guy who runs a casino called ‘The Tangiers’ in Las Vegas. Here it goes:
“…I mean, what do you think we’re doing out here in the middle of the desert? It’s all this money. This is the end result of all the bright lights and the comped trips, of all the champagne and free hotel suites, and all the broads and all the booze. It’s all been arranged just for us to get your money. That’s the truth about Las Vegas. We’re the only winners. The players don’t stand a chance…In the casino, the cardinal rule is to keep them playing and keep them coming back. The longer they play, the more they lose. In the end, we get it all.”
In this page you will get all the basic information that you will need to go and play in a Goa casino. Before going further, you may like to read my article on The Messed Up Casino Industry of Goa (link opens in a new tab).
Casino Gambling in Goa
Goa is one of the two places in India where legalised casino gambling was taking place in India at the time of writing this article. The second place is the State of Sikkim in India’s North-East where two casinos operate by the names of Casino Mahjong and Casino Denzong. The third casino location in India that may be up and running soon is Daman in the Union Territory of Daman & Diu. The Deltin Group already has a hotel there along with a casino licence and frankly I do not know why the opening of that casino is taking so long. Goa, on the other hand, got its first casino years ago when the government allowed casino gambling in five star hotels here as a recreational activity. Later floating casinos came along which are parked in the river Mandovi in Panjim, the capital city of the State of Goa. The floating casinos have licences different from those operating in the hotels. Let’s just say, floating casinos are all about live gaming without any excuse of ‘recreation’ and such.
Casinos Operating in Goa
At the time of writing this article, there were four floating casinos in Panjim and seven over-land casinos scattered over the State of Goa. Here’s the list:
Floating Casinos in Panjim
1. Deltin Royale
Deltin Royale is Goa’s largest floating casino and is very popular. It is a huge boat parked in the river Mandovi. Entry packages to Deltin Royale start at INR 3000 that include food, drinks, and entertainment. Read more about Deltin Roayle here.
2. Deltin JAQK
Deltin JAQK previously known as Casino Royale, according to the best of my knowledge, is only partly owned by the Deltin Group. This boat is smaller than Deltin Royale but has an open sun deck accessible to the visitors. Entry fee to Deltin JAQK starts at INR 2000. Read more about Deltin JAQK here.
3 & 4. Casino Pride 1 and Casino Pride 2
Casino Pride 1 and Casino Pride 2 are the casino boats parked in the river Mandovi belonging to the Pride Group that apart from these two floating casinos, run three over-land casinos. Casino Pride 1 is hugely popular and it is difficult to get a seat at a gaming table there during peak hours. Casino Pride 2 is newer, sees less number of visitors and therefore should be the casino of your choice over Pride 1. During weekends, both these casinos have minimum bets of INR 500. Combined entry fee for both the casinos is INR 2000. Read more about Casino Pride 1 and 2 here.
Over-land Casinos In Goa
5. Strike Casino at Grand Hyatt Bambolim Goa
The age of inferior gaming in Goa’s over-land casinos is finally over with the opening of Strike Casino. Strike is the best among onshore casinos and better than the floating casinos in some respects. It is located seven kilometres outside Panjim in the Grand Hyatt’s premises at Bambolim. The casino opens 24 hours a day and charges an entry fee of INR 2500. Read more about Strike Casino Grand Hyatt here.
6. Crown Casino Panjim
Crown Casino is perhaps Goa’s best over-land casino at present because of its superb location which is just a 5 minute walk away from the Deltin Royale jetty. Another thing that makes this casino a worthy contender is the good range of available games and low minimum bets starting at just INR 100. Entry fee is INR 1000. Read more about Crown Casino here.
7. Chances Casino Dona Paula Panjim
Chances Casino operates from ‘Chances Casino and Resort’ which was earlier called Vainguinim Valley Resort. It is located in Dona Paula, Panjim. Chances was very popular when there was not much competition from other casinos around. Now due its far-off location, this casino gets fewer visitors and relies mostly on the one game of Roulette. Entry fee is INR 1000. Read more about Chances Casino here.
8. Casino Paradise Porvorim
Casino Paradise, an over-land casino, operates from Hotel Neo Majestic in Porvorim which is a little of out of Panjim city. One needs to hire a taxi to get there. This casino belongs to the Pride casino group. Entry fee is INR 1000 on any day. Read more about Casino Paradise here.
9. Grand 7 Casino
Grand 7 Casino is located in O’ Hotel Candolim Goa. Grand 7 is open 24/7 and is located within 5-7 km of Baga / Calangute area. If you buy their premium entry package (INR 2500) you get a free drop to your hotel in Baga / Calangute / Candolim. The regualar entry package fee is INR 1000. I have yet to visit this casino but will do it soon.
10. Casino Palms Baga
Casino Palms (Pride Group) is located inside Hotel LaCalypso in Baga, near Calangute. Its a small casino and the gaming hall is split into two separate rooms. The casino is open 24 hours. Entry fee is INR 1000 during weekdays and weekends. Weekend ticket comes along with a free T-Shirt. Lunch and dinner buffet is free if you happen to be there at the right time. Read more about Casino Palms here.
Also Read: Body Massage in Goa
The One That I Left Out
I have left out one casino operating from a hotel in Panjim from this list. The omission is deliberate. I have been to this particular casino twice, the second time just to confirm the things that I saw during my first visit there. I don’t go to that casino and will not advise my friends to go there. I consider my fellow travellers who read this blog as my friends.
Games Available In Goa Casinos
I cover this type of games first because typically most casinos in Goa have at least some slot machines and also most of the times you will not see many people playing on slot machines. The reason is simple: very poor pay-outs. In Macau, slot machines are referred to by the players as “Hungry Tigers”. That way in Goa, slot machines should be called “Greedy Tigers”. Some of the slot machines in Goa are still old with bet per line of at INR 10. The newer machines are multi-line, INR 1 per bet type. I think ‘Chances’ in Dona Paula is the only casino still having coin type slot machines. All others accept currency notes and pay-outs are given by the casino attendants. Deltin Royale’s slot machines pay-out with modern slot tickets.
The following table games are available in Goa casinos with minimum bets starting at INR 50 for Roulette and INR 100 for others:
Against The Dealer
Against Other Players
1. Texas Hold’em Poker
2. Indian Flush
Different Types of Gaming Chips
There are several types of gaming chips used in Goa’s casinos. Most players, however, need to know only about Cash Chips, OTP Chips, and Rolling Chips. The others types are not for everyone. Anyway, this is what I know about those chips:
1. Cash Chips
These are the regular chips that you obtain after a cash buy-in. The wins are paid out in cash chips only that can be exchanged for cash at the cashier’s counter.
2. OTP Chips
OTP Chips are one time play chips and cannot be encashed. I have got a separate article on OTP Chips here.
3. Rolling Chips
Rolling chips are non-cash chips but different from OTP chips in the way that if a bet placed with a rolling chip is won by the player, he or she gets paid with a cash chip but the rolling chip that was bet remains with the player as long as it is not lost in a bet. Rolling chips are used by big players who get certain benefits from the casino for their large buy-ins and hence are expected to play up to the amount of that buy-in. Deltin Royale has a “Player’s Package” that offers rolling chips worth INR 20,000 (1000×20) and free entry for a total of INR 20,000 per person.
4. Junket Chips
This is the rather shady area of casino operations anywhere in the world. Junket chips are used by players who come to the casino as a group and play for large stakes. This type of chips are identified by different designs and are again classified into Junket-cash and Junket-rolling. The pay-outs are not made directly to the players but to their agents. More complications there, anyway not for you and me so let us ignore these.
5. Other High-Value Chips
In a big casino in Panjim I have seen a high-roller playing with black color chips on a “Private” table. Now this is a type of casino chips that even I know nothing about. Neither will I ever know.
Other Important Stuff
Government Entry Levy
A visitor to a casino in Goa is required to pay INR 1000 against a receipt for government levy. Being found inside a casino without this levy receipt is a punishable offence, hence insist on a levy receipt when you pay the entry fee. All entry fee packages in Goa casinos include this entry levy.
Minimum Age of Entry
Minimum age of a guest who wishes to enter a gaming floor in a Goa casino is 21 years. Some casinos allow guests under the age of 21 in the non-gaming areas like restaurants, etc.
Entry for Minors and Kids
As per the policy of Deltin Royale and maybe other casinos as well, kids upto the age of 5 are allowed free entry but kids must remain in the designated play area or dining areas. Entry for minors (6-17 years) is allowed in the dining area but no alcoholic drinks are served to them. Deltin Roayle charges an entry of INR 1000 for this age group. For guests between 18 and 20 years, alcoholic drinks are served but they cannot enter gaming areas. Entry fee in Deltin Royale for this age group is INR 1500. Entry fee for all these categories may be different in different casinos but the restrictions on serving of alcohol and access to gaming areas will be the same.
Entry / Exit and Operation Hours
All the floating casinos are open 24 hours a day but land casinos have different hours. One can enter or exit a casino at any time but the availability of feeder boat to access or leave a floating casino may keep one waiting for a few minutes at either end.
Lunch / Dinner in Floating or Land Casinos
Only Pride Group casinos, both floating or on-land serve lunch while all casinos will serve dinner of varying quality which is covered in the entry ticket price. Both veg and non-veg food are served in all the casinos.
Free Drop to Hotel
Floating casinos in Panjim all allow free drop by car to the guest’s hotel within Panjim city limits, at least up to Miramar. Pride floating casinos give drop up to Dona Paula. But if your hotel happens to be out of the free drop service area, you better have your own vehicle or hire a taxi from the casino entry.
Smoking in Goa Casinos
Smoking in the gaming halls in Goa casinos is not permitted. Most casinos provide smoking cabins in the gaming areas for those who wish to smoke. Now this “No Smoking” rule is being violated in some of the casinos that do not wish to stop their guests from smoking. The violation occurs in the VIP gaming areas particularly in most of the casinos. Its a shame but the violation will stop only when the players stop smoking at the tables. The casinos cannot be expected to try very hard because they are more focussed on taking the players’ money.
Also Read: Smart Casino Gambling – Protecting Winnings & Limiting Losses
More To Come
I will expand this Goa Casino Guide soon because more needs to be added.