Visakhapatnam: Gambling aficionados from Vizag, East and West Godavari districts are going to Colombo in Sri Lanka to place their bets. Until now they were going to Goa where only computerised casinos are run whereas in Colombo hand played- live casinos are operated.
To have the live casino experience they are visiting Colombo. With some Colombo-based casino dens offering customised packages, the affluent gambling enthusiasts from these three districts are approaching local travel agents on their travel plans.
Though Goa has an offshore hand played- live casino, they need to go on a ferry into the international waters to reach there. In Colombo, these live casinos are run very much in the city.
“These days we are getting many enquiries and bookings from so many locals and also from Rajah-mundry, Bheemavaram and some other towns in Godavari districts to go to Colombo, especially to visit a casino there. ‘On arrival visa’ is one of the factors which is drawing betting enthusiasts towa-rds Colombo. Travel time is also less when compared to other international gambling destinations.
Though we have a direct flight to Singapore from Vizag, where there are also casinos operated, there is no facility of on arrival visa to Singapore,” a leading tour operator in Vizag, Dhiraj P, who is also vice-resident of Tour & Travels Association of Andhra (TTAA), told this correspondent.
However, due to lack of a direct flight to Colombo, locals are now going to Sri Lanka via Chennai. Recently, a high-level delegation from Sri Lankan Airlines had visited Vizag to conduct a feasibility study to introduce a direct flight from Vizag to Colombo.
“Most of these gambling enthusiasts are drawn to Colombo only to have this live casino experience. They have this feeling that they may be cheated in the computerised casinos. The value of money is also cheap in Sri Lanka to place bets. The gambling enthusiasts also need not carry money all the way to Sri Lanka. There are representatives of these casinos in India who collect money from locals and when they reach Colombo hotel they will be given tokens worth the cash they paid in India,” said another tour operator.
Location: Andhra Pradesh