With its casino operations now up and running again in Goa, Delta Corp. Limited is setting its sights on growing its online gaming business.
In an interview with CNBC TV18, Delta Corp.’s Chief Financial Officer Hardik Dhebar confirmed that the listed company is seeking to raise up to $50 million to grow Delta’s online gaming division. Currently, Delta is “at the final stages of appointing a banker,” according to Dhebar.
“We are looking at doing a USD 30-40-50 million capital raise, which we will utilize to grow the business. And this USD 30-40-50 million should help us for the next 3-6 months to pump up our revenue, pump up the numbers,” the executive told the news outlet.
Delta, the only listed company in India that is engaged in casino gaming, expanded to online skill gaming with the acquisition of online poker site Adda52 in 2017, which effectively consolidated its position in India’s gaming industry. Aside from its real money skill games, the company also offers many casual entertainment games in its casino establishments.
Dhebar’s statement comes on the heels of the news that casinos are now allowed to operate at limited capacity in the state of Goa. Per Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, casinos in Goa can operate up to 50 percent of their capacity and must implement COVID safety protocols including use of masks, sanitisers, and thermal screening, among others.
Guests and staff must be asymptomatic or fully vaccinated against coronavirus, making sure that 15 days have elapsed from the administration of the second dose of the vaccine. Negative RT-PCR test results are also accepted, provided that the tests are conducted not prior to 72 hours from the time of entry to the casino, according to the state government.
Dhebar said the numbers so far are “encouraging and very good” for Delta Corp., which operates three of the six offshore casino vessels in the state.
“It’s about 8-10 days that we are in operation (in Goa) and the last 10 days of traction shows that we should be back to pre-COVID levels. Hopefully, in the next quarter, when we report a full quarter, you will be able to see that the numbers are way better than what we all expect. So, it’s encouraging and very good,” the executive said.
The state government is banking on the peak tourism season to help boost its numbers, which have dropped since late April when casinos, hotels, bars, restaurants and tourism facilities have been shut down as the country battles to control the COVID-19 crisis. In their report, Overview of Goa’s casino communities, analysts at ENV Media highlighted that the state’s “expanding casino industry reached around 15,000 visitors per day by the end of the 2010s, still maintaining an annual growth rate of around 30%.”
However, the pandemic has shown a drastic shift among many consumers towards more digital environments for their day-to-day activities. These include casual gaming players who are now also opting to go digital via online roulette sites in the comfort and safety of their homes.
“The COVID-19 pandemic may have given the decisive push in many industries. While tourism stands to improve in Goa, its gambling fame might just be brought onto a new level with online gambling,” according to the ENV Media report. “Goa might push for more online gamers and next-gen revenue streams instead of pushing for rich tourists (and trying to discriminate against locals or humble desi gamblers.”