Bigger vessel to replace Caravela

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The Caravela management, the casino operator on the Mandovi river, is set to introduce a second boat, bigger, larger in capacity and more affluent.
According to sources, the floating casino, MV Caravela is set to be replaced by another boat in the immediate future, heralding in another chapter in the convoluted Goan casino saga.

Caravela Casino in Goa

Caravela Casino in Goa

They inform that the boat in a stripped-down condition has been imported, probably from the America, and is clearing customs at present. The boat would then be towed to Goa; tentatively leaving Mumbai on April 10. It would then undergo extensive refurbishing at a local dry dock.

Government sources, declining to speak on record due to prevailing code of conduct, however confirm that the government has received a proposal where the owners of the MV Caravela have asked to replace their present boat by another one.The sources say the new vessel would function on the existing gambling licence but it would have to get all new NOCs as it would be a new vessel.

The refurbishing would probably take four-five months.The second gambling boat is of a much larger capacity and bigger than the Caravela with company sources saying this boat (yet to be named) will be seaworthy and could ply the sea for a couple of days and back to the Mandovi jetty to offload and onload guests. A swimming pool, dance floors, and of course several casinos are in its manifest of new entertainments planned for the new vessel.

The original Casino Goa on the MV Caravela was for a long time India’s only offshore casino. This casino vessel anchored in the river Mandovi is owned by the Advani Pleasure Cruise Co Ltd and was a joint venture between the company and Casinos Austria. According to sources, it has around 11 tables of American Roulette, Blackjack and Paplu (Rummy) besides a few electronic slot machines.However, the new bat would be of a much larger capacity probably of the size of the Casino Royale.

Despite the opposition from various forces, including political parties, the government decided to expand the number of licences to offshore boating casinos manifold to attract tourists, both local and foreign and apparently try and to recreate some of the success of Macau, another former Portuguese colony. The sources say that it could also have been eyeing the large number of Indian gamblers flocking to Nepal especially as now gambling has become a political no-no after the communists came to power. Estimated visitors are expected to climb by 20 per cent yearly, tentatively approaching 3 million, but not including local gamblers.

The setting up of casinos itself was controversial as live gambling is outlawed in India and this was partially circumvented by hosting it off the mainland. Goa is the only state that permits both electronic on land casinos as well as live offshore ones.

NT, Goa Daily

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