The anti-casino movement is gathering steam as the opposition parties attempt to put pressure on the Government against the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act, 2021.
Lambor Malngiang, Independent MLA of Nongkrem, has demanded the removal of the word “casino” saying, “The idea of having casinos was never discussed in the Cabinet. Then why do you have to insert the word casino in the Gaming Act”. He added that though the main purpose of the Gaming Act is to generate substantial amount of revenues the Government needs to respect the opinions and views of the people who are against it.
The Act was introduced to regulate illegal gambling parlours and to introduce government-regulated casinos that generate annual revenues of Rs. 500 crore. However, the Act has been facing some resistance from the locals and a campaign has been launched named Joint Action Committee Against Casino (JACAC) against it.
Meanwhile, the Khasi Jaintia Christian Leaders Forum (KJCLF) have also supported the repeal of the Gaming Act 2021 and held a special prayer meeting at the KJP Assembly Chapel in Shillong on Friday. The president Bishop P Lyngdoh said the government not repealing the act was a matter of grave concern.
KJCLF have been opposing the Act since it was enacted by the Government stating that the forum is against endorsing gambling and that it is necessary to repeal the Act for the bright future of youth in the state. Before the prayer meeting, KJCLF secretary Rev EH Kharkongor said, “The forum has decided not to resort to agitation. We have organized this special prayer meeting with the objective of urging all Christian groups to spread the message in their own areas and make efforts to reach out to their own members for the welfare of the society and state.”