11.4 C
Imphal
Wednesday, December 7, 2022
No menu items!

Meghalaya government to raise revenue through legal gambling

However, the Meghalaya United Christian Forum (MUCF) has voiced “apprehension and shock' over the government's move to convert Meghalaya into a hub of legalised gambling, online betting and casinos.

Must Read

Shillong: Cash-strapped Meghalaya is mulling introduction of casinos and online gambling, exclusively for tourists to generate revenue to meet the State’s expenditure.

However, the Meghalaya United Christian Forum (MUCF) has voiced “apprehension and shock’ over the government’s move to convert Meghalaya into a hub of legalised gambling, online betting and casinos.

- Advertisement -

Nonetheless, there are other groups of people who welcomed the government’s move to introduce the online betting and casinos to attract tourist footfall and to ensure employment opportunities. The push for legalised gambling started after Taxation Minister James Sangma met representatives of the U.K.

India Business Council (UKIBC) and other U.K.-based business houses to discuss the online gaming and sports betting landscape in the State. Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that the intention of the government to introduce casinos and online gambling, exclusively for tourists to generate revenue to meet the State’s expenditure.

“So much of revenue is required for different needs of government employees, teachers, and several others. While we look at revenue, how do we ensure that the social funding of the state can be met,” he said.

Though gambling has been rampant in the state with ‘teer’ or traditional archery games being betted for on a daily basis, the government has not earned much revenue. This traditional form of gambling is conducted under the Meghalaya Regulation of the Game of Arrow Shooting and the Sale of Teer Tickets Act, 2018.

Sangma said that various forms of gaming, both online and offline, have been going on in the state for the past 20-25 years and there has been no rules to regulate them, but now there will be strong regulations and any operators allowing locals to take part in gambling will have their licences cancelled.

However, the Chief Minister made it clear that the government intents go set up these casinos and on-line gambling parlours in Khanapara area near Assam’s main city of Guwahati to ensure that citizens of the state are safeguarded from such activities and that such activities won’t affect the city as such.

“None of these activities will be anywhere the Shillong . These parlours would be in areas near Guwahati,” he added. However, former Home Minister, Robert Garnet Lyngdoh, an ardent promoter of tourism said the proposal for setting up casinos and online gaming will be good for “high end tourism” which this Government is promoting.

“I hope youth from all over the State will be trained, employed and paid well in these casinos. Restricting casinos to the Assam border is a wrong move. They should be spread to strategic places across the State. One strategy could be places that have nothing of tourist interest. Then the gamblers will spend on travel, food and stay,” Lyngdoh said.

Noting that online gambling (lotteries) had started in the past in the State but did not work for many reasons, the former Home Minister said the incumbent government revisits the past and learns from that experience before launching this enterprise.

However, Informed, Conscious and Responsible Existence (ICARE) president, Tokiwaio Blah said that he don’t see how the gambling joint or casino will add to the wellbeing and welfare of our people whose only concern is how to make both ends meet.

He said the government also has the responsibility over protecting the social customs and values of the people.

“I doubt if any exercise has been carried out on this score (casinos and online gambling) over a project aimed at benefitting a few over the interests of many. Meghalaya desperately needs government focus and policies on how to promote infrastructure, education, health care, increase employment opportunities and most important how to lift poverty and hopelessness which seem to be the most depressing problems the common man faces,” Blah, a former bureaucrat said.

Voicing ‘apprehension and shock’ over the government’s move to convert Meghalaya into a hub of legalised gambling, online betting and casinos, MUCF secretary, Synsharlang Kharshiing said, “The conversion of Meghalaya into a hub of legalised gambling, online betting and casinos will have far-reaching consequences on the lives of the young and vulnerable men and women and their families irrespective of community and belief.”

Kharshiing said online gambling and casinos might generate a lot of revenue for the government but the bigger question is whether people are willing to pay the price and are they ready to bear the repercussions of such an endeavour on the society at large.

“The leaders of the state should deeply introspect before jumping head on with excitement without considering the destruction it may cause to the present and future generations,” the forum added. UNI RR

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest News

MPCC demands joint inspection of PMGSY works in Manipur

Imphal: Continuing its tirade against the ruling BJP government, Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee Tuesday invited the Biren-Singh led government...
- Advertisement -

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -