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Purchased by the Pride Group of Casinos and Hotels, casino vessel Argosy IV from Illinois, U.S., has entered the Goa waters.
The company intends to use it as a spare vessel while sending it two offshore casino vessels currently operating on River Mandovi i.e. Casino Pride I and Casino Pride II, for repairs.
Director of the company, Shrinivas Nayak confirmed the arrival of Argosy IV. “We have bought the vessel as a substitute for the two existing casino vessels that we operate in the Mandovi. We are switching vessels and this is not a new casino,” Nayak said, emphasizing the fact that the company had no plans to operate a third offshore casino in River Mandovi.
“The two vessels, Casino Pride I and Casino Pride II are steel hull vessels and they have to go in the dry dock for repairs. Since this takes a long time, we thought of having a spare vessel,” he explained.
Nayak added that the vessel will be soon moved to a dry dock in Jaigarh, Ratnagiri on trial run and for minor repair works following which it will be brought back to Goa.
Built in 1994, Argosy IV has operated as an offshore casino in Illinois and is a three-deck vessel with 36,000 square feet of gaming space. It was recently up for sale for $850,000 (~₹6,16,08,000) by owners and then moved and loaded on the semi-submersible mother ship Eide Trader at New Orleans after the Pride Group acquired it.
Earlier this week, Argosy IV was brought from the US on Eide Trader that docked at berth 10 of Mormugao Port Trust (MPT). Here, Argosy IV was subsequently unloaded in the waters on Thursday and is currently berthed.
According to reports, MPT officials and the State Home Department have confirmed that the vessel does not have clearance to operate as an inland waterways vessel and while the importer has paid all the charges, customs duty and other fees, no application was received for new casino licenses.
Meanwhile, another casino vessel MV Lucky Seven is also berthed at the Mormugao Port. Owned by former Haryana home minister Gopal Kanda, MV Lucky Seven was brought to Goa by Golden Globe Hotels Pvt Ltd (GGHPL) to be used as an offshore casino. It had got grounded ashore at Miramar beach last year after it hit a sandbar over river Mandovi owing to rough weather. The vessel underwent intensive repairs at Cochin dry dock and was then brought to Mormugao Port where the repairs continued.