Meghalaya grants temporary licence to 3 firms for on premises casinos

  • | Monday | 12th September, 2022

Shillong, Sep 12 (PTI) The Meghalaya government has granted temporary licence to three firms for operating on-premises casinos to promote niche tourism in the state, Taxation Minister James P K Sangma told the Assembly on Monday. Stiff competition in the tourism sector in the Northeast region prompted the government to start the on-premises casinos, the minister said while replying to a calling attention motion moved by Trinamool Congress MLA George Lyngdoh. “We had to find an unprecedented atypical solution to attract tourists, other than leisure or low budget tourists, by offering them niche tourism,” Sangma said. The other states of the region are offering stiff competition to Meghalaya in the tourism sector because they have similar topography and some of them have better attractions in terms of historical, archaeological, and architectural marvels, the minister said. The opening up of on-premises casinos in Meghalaya would generate not only revenue for the state but also provide job avenues to the youth, Sangma said. Giving an insight into the history of betting games in Meghalaya, James said, “Betting on bullfights, though banned, and cockfights and dice games is actively played in remote areas of our state.” As the move to open on-premises casinos is facing opposition from religious bodies and other groups, the Taxation minister said gaming in all its form has been in practice for years in Meghalaya. Archery-based betting was legalised in Meghalaya in 1982. The state government had last year passed the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act, 2021. PTI JOP MM MM

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