Goa has launched the Big Daddy Casino boat in an 11-day gala opening extravaganza from May 9-19, 2019. In a bid to scoop up a boatload of gambling tourists in Asia, the Big Daddy sets sail for a high rolling adventure.
Bollywood Boat Party
In addition to the usual luxurious glitz and glamour of a lush casino yacht, visitors can expect all the vibrant cultural colors of an extravagant Bollywood musical number all through the opening festivities. Bollywood stars like Sanjay Dutt, Shamita Shetty, and Amisha Patel are set to grace the gaming floors of the floating casino all through its maiden voyage.
Chief Visionary Officer Narinder Punj of Big Daddy casino said in a statement, “Big Daddy Casino promises to enthrall with the best of world class gaming experience, equipped with gaming equipment at par with Las Vegas & Macau not available anywhere in Asia.”
Offshore Gaming in India
The owner of Big Daddy, Golden Globe Hotels, is one of 6 companies holding a license to operate offshore casinos in Goa. Currently, the low number of land-based gaming venues in Goa is restricted to touristy upscale hotels, and they are only permitted to offer electronic gambling and no table games.
The nautical loophole of gaming boats is not new in Goa, where several floating casinos have been operating in recent years. While local governments drag their feet on land laws and casino rules, Goa’s betting boats have been sailing on a sea of continuous six-month license extensions.
While Goa has been working on plans for the casino boats to move ashore by 2020, the transfer may not take place until 2022. In addition to the costly transition of moving floating casinos to dry land, Big Daddy Casino has had other setbacks along the way.
Failure to Launch
This was not Golden Globe’s first attempt to make a splash on the local floating casino scene. In July 1997, the maiden voyage of the MV Lucky 7 wasn’t so lucky: it ran aground on a sandbar just offshore. Since then, the not-so-lucky 7 was moved to another location, and its gaming guts were stripped and moved onto another vessel.
The ship’s launch timing could not have been worse. Despite warnings from local officials, the Lucky 7 set sail during the onset of the monsoon season, with predictable results. But the sandy setback led to the commissioning of a newer, refurbished Lucky 7 to house Golden Globe’s gaming gems: the renamed boat known as Big Daddy.
A New Hope
The monsoon season isn’t the only setback in the region. A series of bombings in Sri Lanka has brought the country’s tourism industry to a standstill. On Easter Sunday 2019, violent religious terrorist attacks ripped through Sri Lanka’s territories in a series of serial bombings which claimed the lives of 250 people.
Sri Lanka offers a low-cost gambling tourist destination for gamblers looking to avoid the high roller cost of Macau casinos. In the wake of the disaster, gambling tourists are expected to bypass Sri Lanka in favor of safe haven on Goa’s floating fleet of casino boats.
Srinivas Nayak, owner of 2 Goan boat casinos, said “Those crowds interested in gaming and were planning to go to Sri Lanka will now come to Goa, as we offer similar services now.”
The 72-meter Big Daddy boasts 110 live gaming tables in 50,000 square feet spread out over 3 levels of wining, dining, and winning. In addition to the usual Las Vegas style trappings, fine dining, chic cigar bars, and shows, Big Daddy plans to set a new standard in offshore gaming in the Goa region. Once the gaming action has finally moved ashore, it is expected to be a billion-dollar industry.
Big Daddy’s Chief Visionary Officer Narinder Punj added, “We firmly believe that Big Daddy Casino will immensely contribute to the growth of tourism of Goa. We look forward to working towards our goal of establishing Goa into a Global offshore Gaming and Entertainment destination.”