The high court of Bombay at Goa has issued an ad-interim order that prevents the state government from issuing any new permits to new casino vessels looking to operate on the Mandovi River.
The court move was sparked by the appearance of a lawyer for the offshore casinos, who told the court that state permission had been given to launch a new casino, with operations to begin soon.
Government factions have been battling over the shipboard casino industry for over a year now, although things had been relatively quiet in recent months. The court accused the state government of creating confusion by allowing new boats to operate on the Mandovi River.
Another hearing on the matter was to take place in late March.
Currently there is only one ship operating in Goa, Casino Royal. The other casinos have closed because business plummeted after the government raised the admission charge tenfold, from 200 rupees to 2,000 rupees (US$4.40 to US$44). In addition to the higher entry fee, some Indian gamblers are flying to Singapore to gamble at the new Resorts World Sentosa casino.