Meghalaya found to be most gambling-friendly state in India

Meghalaya is looking to develop its gambling industry.
Meghalaya is looking to develop its gambling industry.

The state of Meghalaya legalised gambling last year and hopes to become a hub for the activity.

India.- The state of Meghalaya is the most gambling-friendly state in India according to a new study. The UK Indian Business Council (UKIBC) Gaming Industry Index measures 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.

The state is seeking to become a gambling hub after it legalised gambling in February 2021 by passing the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Ordinance. Last year’s legislation nullified the Meghalaya Prevention of Gambling Act 1970, making Meghalaya the third state in the northeast of India to legalise gambling and online gambling after after Sikkim and Nagaland.

James PK Sangma, Meghalaya’s law and taxation minister is now reported talks with several business leaders to explore how to further develop the state’s gambling industry.

UKIBC managing director Kevin McCole said: “We applaud the government of Meghalaya on its forward-thinking approach to the license of games of chance in the state, which will help to contribute greater revenues and bring jobs to the state. 

“A regulated market also provides safeguards and protection for players, safeguards that are not available in the unregulated sector.”

India: Telangana rethinks online gambling ban

Meanwhile, the state of Telangana is rethinking its ban on all forms of gambling. It introduced the ban in 2017 after reports of gambling addiction leading to suicides and bankruptcy but has found it led to players being targeted by illegal offshore sites outside of government control.

Realising the ban may be ineffective, authorities are now also concerned about missed potential tax revenue.

Speaking at the recent All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) Knowledge Series Forum, Telangana’s chief secretary for IT, electronics and communications, Jayesh Ranjan, said he has drafted a bill to change the situation and is waiting for the right time to bring it to the Cabinet.

India’s central government is also considering a move to regulate online gambling in India. Through the Online Gambling Regulation Act, the government would create a central gambling regulator, the Online Gambling Commission, with a mandate to oversee the operations of online gambling operators and punish illegal operators.

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