Meghalaya cancels casino plans amid pressure from religious groups

The government was going to issue temporary casino licences to three applicants.
The government was going to issue temporary casino licences to three applicants.

Due to strong pressure from church leaders and other anti-gambling groups, the Meghalaya government has backed down on plans for casinos in the state.

India.- Just three days after announcing that temporary licences had been granted to three casino operators, the government of Meghalaya state has cancelled plans due to opposition from the church and social organisations.

Chief minister Conrad K Sangma said: “With people expressing concern over the establishment of casinos, we have put a stop to any further proceedings in this aspect. Let me assure everyone that without taking people into confidence, there is no question of further movement on this line.”

He said the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act and Rules, 2021 will not be repealed. Its purpose is to regulate existing gaming parlours to generate revenue for the state, suggesting that the government may be able to generate Rs 500 crore annually through its provisions.

In defending the measure to allow casinos, minister James P K Sangma has said it could boost the economy and generate new jobs. He had argued that gambling in all its forms has been practised for years in Meghalaya.

In April, the state of Meghalaya had been deemed the most gambling-friendly state in India according to the UK Indian Business Council (UKIBC) Gaming Industry Index.

The study measured each state’s attitude to gambling and betting based on seven verticals (lottery, horse racing, sports betting, poker, rummy, casino and fantasy sports). Meghalaya has a score of 92.85 on a scale of 0 to 100, 100 being fully legal.

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GAMBLING REGULATION land-based casino