The desire to play casino games continues to grow around the globe. Agra in India has plenty of tourists but when it comes to nightlife, their lack of casinos is affecting trade.
One of the main attractions in the area is the Fatehpur Sikri Palace, just 40 km away from Agra. Tourists flock to the palace which dates to the 16th century. One major feature there is a giant board that was used for the game of Chaupar (dice). It’s an incredible sight and word is that the Mughal emperor Akbar played the game using slaves or courtiers for the pieces.
The 1970s saw talk of the game being made available as a tourist attraction but nothing materialized. The problem is that an amendment in legislation would be required for a casino to open in Agra.
With the need to arrest a drop in the number of foreign tourists, the call for casinos to be built in the city is growing. One problem is the fact that those tourists who visit the local attractions during the day don’t stay there in the evening.
That isn’t a new problem though, it started when the decision was made in the 1980s not to have the Taj Mahal open in the evening. With nearly a quarter of overseas tourists wanting to see the Taj Mahal, it’s important to try and keep them in the area for all day.
More recently it’s become easier for tourists to get to New Delhi thanks to a high-speed expressway. If the tourist revenue is to increase, Agra must boost what they can offer at night-time. There was a light and sound show at the Agra Fort. Twice that has been introduced but again last year it closed. Sandeep Arora is the president of the Agra Tourism Development Foundation. His view is that there is a need for a “fusion of modern and historical attractions for tourists.” He wants Agra to follow in the footsteps of Goa and Nepal who have opened casinos but only for use by foreign tourists.
A meeting between the Indian government’s tourism department and the Tourism Guild of Agra is to be held soon. However, it appears opening a casino isn’t an imminent plan.