Meghalaya: Congress joins chorus against gaming law

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Congress has strongly opposed the plan of the National People’s Party-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government to legalise gambling and online betting for tourists reported the Shillong Times.

Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) working president, PN Syiem questioned the state government’s argument that this was being done with the sole objective of generating revenue.

He said the state government needs to find alternatives to gambling and online betting for generating revenue. The state’s abundant resources should be explored for the purpose, he added.

Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on last Thursday said the state government came up with the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act, 2021, with the intention to regulate the gaming and jackpot parlours operating across the state for the past 25 years,

The Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) supremo, KP Pangniang said the state should push the Centre to have its own legislation to regulate the mining of mineral resources instead of legalising gambling and online betting.

“We are against any move to legalise gambling even though the government claims it will help generate more than Rs 1,000 crore annually,” he said.

The State had already issued 3 provisional licenses. Various organisations, including the influential Meghalaya United Christian Forum (MUCF), voiced “apprehension and shock” over the state government’s decision to legalise gambling and online betting for tourists coming to the state. Last month, Minister James Sangma clarified that gambling will not be permitted by locals.