Panaji's Floating Casinos

Live gaming is illegal in most of India but back in 2001 the powers that be in Goa decided that if the gambling was offshore, it could circumvent this law. The results are the controversial floating casinos moored on the Mandovi River. Over the past decade there have been political rumblings about moving the boats out of the river or closing down the industry altogether, but money talks and as of 2018 there were at least six casino boats on the Mandovi.

Still, the latest news is that the government intends to ban local Goans from using the casinos (bona fide tourists only) and the idea of moving the boats out of the river – where they are very visible to the public – and into a designated 'gaming zone' is still being mooted.

The casinos vary a little in size and shape, but are quite luxurious cruise-style ships. All offer gaming tables with croupiers, including blackjack, poker, roulette, baccarat, Indian flush and slot machines. Buffet meals, free drinks and entertainment are part of the deal in the evenings and some or all of your admission cost is redeemable in gaming chips. Dress codes apply.