Minister James P K Sangma said the government had issued temporary casino licences to three applicants.
India.- The state of Meghalaya, which has been described as the most gambling-friendly state in India, has granted temporary licences to three casino operators. The objective, according to minister James P K Sangma, is to promote tourism in the state, boost the economy and generate new jobs.
The state 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 Sikkim and Nagaland.
In defending the measure in the face of criticism from religious bodies and anti-casino groups, Sangma said that gambling in all its forms has been practised for years in Meghalaya.
According to Sangma, Goa and Sikkim have promoted tourism by legalising gaming on physical premises, but they have incorporated provisions into their respective gaming acts that prevent residents from entering the physical gaming premises so as to protect the locals from the detrimental effects of gaming.
In a similar manner, Meghalaya’s legalisation of gambling applies only to tourists and not residents.
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.