Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president Vincent H Pala has stated that the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act, 2021 was a “manipulation” designed to benefit those at the helm of affairs.
Stating that there is resentment from the society on the Gaming Act Pala said he is opposed to setting up of casinos and hence the government should repeal it.
“Our society will not be able to handle casinos as it is not mature enough like other countries and states and this will only increase prostitution, addictions and in fact only benefit those at the helm of affairs trying to initiate this for their own benefit,” he opined.
Pala alleged that teer or archery is the highest profit making business of the state that has been running for decades but the State government wanted to move it from Polo ground to Laitlyngkot and somewhere in Garo Hills. He said the government failed in this move after a court order.
It may be mentioned that on December 15, 2021, the Meghalaya cabinet passed the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Rules, 2021 to enable the State Excise Department to tap the revenue potential of online and physical gaming and regulate gaming in the State.
In February 2021 the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Ordinance, 2021, was passed. The ordinance overturned the Meghalaya Prevention of Gaming Act of 1970, thus effectively legalising gambling activities within the State.
The 2021 ordinance seeks to regulate games of skill and games of chance within the State by envisaging a licensing regime for all forms of gaming. In a move that is a first of its kind, the law also creates a progressive independent regulatory body called the Meghalaya Gaming Commission to monitor all gaming activities in the state.
While Meghalaya was one of the first states to legalise archery-based gambling, it will now become the third State in the North East after Nagaland and Sikkim to legalise gambling – both online and off-line.
The move to get into gaming in a big way comes some 40 years after archery-based betting was first legalised in Meghalaya, raking in big revenue to the State’s exchequer.
Meghalaya has been tagged as the “most gaming-friendly state” in India by the UK India Business Council (UKIBC) in its industry report.