Meghalaya law and taxation minister James P.K. Sangma has clarified that the state’s legalisation of gambling applies only be for tourists and not residents.
India.- The state of Meghalaya passed legislation to legalise gambling in February 2021, but James PK Sangma, Meghalaya’s law and taxation minister, has now been forced to clarify that the legalisation applies only for tourists and not state residents.
Sangma told local media: “We came out with a Gaming Act and subsequently framed the Regulation of Gaming Rules, 2021. The government will accordingly issue licences to operate games of skill and chance, both online and offline. But the legalised gambling and gaming will only be for tourists and not residents of Meghalaya.”
The state of Meghalaya hopes to become a hub for gaming following the lead of other northeastern states Sikkim and Nagaland. A recent study found it to be the most gambling-friendly state in India.
The UK Indian Business Council (UKIBC) Gaming Industry Index 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 scored 92.85 out of 100, 100 being fully legal.
According to Sangma, gambling could generate new employment opportunities and boost tourism.
Meanwhile, authorities in India are analysing the possibility of introducing a regulatory regime for online gaming with a regulator to sanction illicit operations. To date, apart from the Supreme Court’s precedent on skill-based gambling, there is no federal statute to govern India’s gambling industry, with each state taking its own stance on the issue.