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North East

Under ‘pressure’ from Church, Meghalaya decides to scrap casino plans

Shillong, September 16: Following stiff resistance from the Church and social organisations, the Meghalaya government has decided to scuttle its plans to open casinos in the state.
The state government had recently issued provisional licenses to three firms to open casinos to boost tourism and revenue. The Church and various social organisations opposed the move claiming that “legalising gambling” will morally affect the society.
“With people expressing concern over the establishment of casinos, we have put a stop to any further proceedings in this aspect. Let me assure everyone that without taking people into confidence, there is no question of further movement on this line,” Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said while addressing a party meeting on Thursday.
He said all processes were stopped since public debates and discussions on the establishment of casinos started and church leaders and representatives of various social organisations started meeting government officials to express their concerns.
On the demand to cancel the provisional licenses issued to the three firms for opening casinos, he said those will “lapse automatically” if the process of establishing the casinos doesn’t start.
The chief minister said the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act and Rules, 2021 will not be repealed as its intention was to regulate the existing gaming parlours to generate revenue for the state, while hinting that the government could generate Rs 500 crore as revenue annually through the provisions of the Act.
“There is no question of repealing the Act. We have concerns about online gambling. Also, jackpot parlours have not been regulated for the last 25 years,” he added. (PTI)

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