Casino gambling is relatively new to India and is only legal in two states, Goa and Sikkim. It may be no coincidence that these two states are the smallest states in India by population and that they have looked to gambling for economic improvement.
The first casino in India opened in Goa in January 2001. In 2004 it was announced that no more casinos would be allowed in the state but in 2007 the state government decided to permit a substantial increase in the number of casinos in the state.
There are seven legal land-based casinos in Goa and five offshore casinos, which run on specially adapted boats which ply their trade on the Mandovi river.
The onshore casinos are the Las Vegas Casino at Leela Resort Goa, Chances Casino at Vainguinim Valley Goa, Hacienda De Oro Casino at Holiday Inn Goa, Winners Casino at Goa Marriott Resort, Goldfinger Casino at Cidade de Goa, Treasure Casino Majorda Beach Resort and the Mint Club Casino at Rivera De Goa Resort.
The offshore floating casinos are the Casino Royale Goa, Casino Goa, Casino Rio , King’s Casino Goa and Casino Mint Goa.
All the Goan casinos offer table games such as blackjack and baccarat and a wide range of slot machines.
The only other state that permits casino gambling is Sikkim, a small Himalyan state in India. With gambling in neighbouring Nepal being legal, many Indians travel to Nepal to play in their casinos. Sikkim decided that this was a wasted revenue opportunity and in 2008 passed legislation to allow casinos in the state.
On 1 March, 2009 the Casino Sikkim was opened by state tourism minister RB Subba. At the time he said that seven further casino applications were being considered by the state.
The Casino Sikkim is based in The Royal Plaza in Gangtok and is open from 6pm to 4am every day of the week. It currently has 10 slot machines, two roulette tables, one flush table, one baccarat table and one blackjack table. It is open to players who are 18 and above.
The Casino Sikkim is owned by the Teesta Rangit group who plan to expand the operations considerably by the summer of 2010.