Meghalaya plans to repeal a law legalising all forms of gambling in the Indian state following pressure from community groups.
The Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act was introduced last year and would have permitted the establishment of casinos for tourists and online gambling. The idea was to boost revenue and tourism in the northeastern state.
However, in a statement posted on Twitter, Minister James Sangma said that there has been concern from parts of society over the scope and impact of the Act.
“Following meetings with stakeholders, it became clear to me it is in the best interest of our State to completely scrap the Act,” he said. “Therefore, it will be my earnest endeavour to see that the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act, 2021, will be repealed.”
Sangma has repeatedly sought to quell criticism of the act by stressing that any gaming facilities will be located in border areas and would be strictly for tourists.
The planned repeal is a blow for efforts to regulate gambling across India, which is seen as one of the most promising emerging markets globally. There is no federal law governing gambling and it’s up to individual states to determine their stance. As a result the country has a patchwork of gambling legislation, with casinos only now allowed in Goa and Sikkim.
Games of skill, such as poker and rummy, are legal as per a ruling from the Supreme Court. However, operators have faced repeated challenges to the legality of their operations in state courts.
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