The coronavirus crisis has led to a number of problems all across the world, especially due to the lockdown measures introduced by many governments. In the absence of a vaccine, there is little choice but to enforce lockdown and social distancing norms to try and control the spread of the virus; however, this has caused a lot of inconvenience and suffering as well.
Businesses have been forced to down shutters in the absence of customers, while the poorest sections of society, who do not have access to food, shelter or financial security, have been hit the hardest. In this scenario, governments need all the help they can get, and so it was heartening, if not a little surprising, to see that casinos in the Indian state of Goa had stepped forward to help out during the COVID – 19 crisis.
Goa is one of a handful of states in India where gambling has some semblance of legality, as it is a huge tourist destination, both for Indians as well as foreign tourists. However, with the entire country in the middle of a total lockdown, their day-to-day operations have come to a halt.
Nevertheless, several casino operators have been contributing towards government operations and relief measures during this time. As part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) requirements, many operators have donated to the government’s relief fund, while they are also helping to manage the logistics of delivery and transport.
The Casino Pride group, India’s largest VIP casino, has also helped out 25 Georgian nationals who were left stranded in the state after the government banned all flights in and out of the country. They have been given accommodation and food by the group, who have stated that they will take care of them till the lockdown is lifted and they are in a position to fly back.
The group has also opened its kitchens to provide meals to on-duty policemen. Similarly, the Deltin Group contributed over five million rupees to the chief minister’s relief fund, while employees are also helping to source and distribute essentials like medicines, medical devices, and food to people who have not been able to venture outside their homes due to the lockdown.
While Goa has only reported only seven cases of COVID-19, with six of them having recovered, its status as a tourist hub meant that there was a huge potential for an outbreak of cases. All of those cases came in from North Goa, which is the tourist hub with the most famous beaches, restaurants, and nightlife spots. Further, the state is mainly rural and semi-rural, with only the capital city and certain other tourist areas having good transport and logistics.
Therefore, it has been a challenge for the state government to ensure that people in more remote areas do not suffer or fall short of provisions, and thus the efforts of casino operators towards these aims are extremely important and could ensure that people do not suffer from starvation or hunger.