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Up to $50M capital raise to grow Delta Corp online gaming division

Delta Corp., the largest and only listed company in India engaged in casino gaming, wants to “pump up the numbers” for its growing online gaming business.

Online business steady contributor to Delta’s topline, CFO says

Hardik Dhebar, chief financial officer of Delta Corp., confirmed in an interview with CNBC TV18 that the company is looking to raise up to $50 million to grow Delta’s online gaming division, which has remained a steady contributor to the company’s topline. The executive said Delta is already “at the final stages of appointing a banker.”

“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,” Dhebar told the news outlet.

Delta made its move into the online skill gaming realm in 2017 with the acquisition of Adda52, which was considered to be the largest online poker destination in the country. This investment has strengthened Delta’s position in the domestic gaming industry, which offers a wide variety of games—from games of skill like online rummy and poker, to online blackjack games and roulette as well as many casual entertainment games.

Delta expects to return to pre-COVID levels

The gaming giant recently reopened the doors of its casino establishments in the state of Goa, after the government gave key tourism activities the green light to resume at limited capacity. Under the government directives, 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.

The establishments must also ensure that their guests and staff are asymptomatic or fully vaccinated against coronavirus, with at least 15 days elapsed from the administration of the second dose of the vaccine. Tourism centers can accept negative RT-PCR test results, as long as the tests are conducted not prior to 72 hours from the time of entry to the casino.

So far, the reopening of casinos in Goa has been “encouraging and very good” for Delta Corp., according to Dhebar. Delta operates three of the six offshore casinos vessels in the state, along with the Casino Deltin Denzong at the Denzong Regency Hotel in Gangtok, Sikkim. The gaming giant is also opening a land-based casino in Nepal, while its integrated resort in Daman has yet to be awarded a casino license.

“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,” Dhebar said.

There is a basis for Delta’s optimism. A report by ENV Media on Goa’s casino communities noted 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%.” With the reopening happening just before the peak tourism season starts, the chances are high that casino operators may be able to start recouping their losses.

But as clearly demonstrated by Delta’s growing online gaming business, many casino operators—and Goa’s casino officials too—are missing a new revenue stream: online casinos. The pandemic has shown a drastic shift among many consumers towards more digital environments for their day-to-day activities, especially for a mobile-first country like India. As the ENV Media analysts pointed out:

“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. 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.”

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