Shillong: Under pressure from church leaders, the Conrad Sangma government on Thursday announced that it was scrapping the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act, introduced last year to promote setting up of casinos and other gambling parlours in the state.
Taking to Twitter, Taxation Minister James PK Sangma said that the decision was taken in the best interest of the state and its people.
“Following meetings with stakeholders, it became clear to me that it is in the best interest of our state to completely scrap the Act. Therefore, it will be my earnest endeavour to see that the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act, 2021, will be repealed,” he wrote.
Over the months, concerns were raised by various parts of the society about the scope and impact of the act, the minister said, maintaining that he tried to understand the concerns of the public and the impact law could have further on.
The taxation minister stated that the gaming act was meant to boost “revenue, tourism and employment”.
“The Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act, 2021, was introduced under my guidance, to legalise and regulate gaming. Introducing casinos meant for tourists only was considered too,” he stated.
Church leaders had been petitioning the government to repeal the Act, claiming that it was “immoral” and comes at a “high price” for society.
According to Census 2011, Christians constitute approximately 74.59 per cent (2.21 million) of the state’s population.
Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, who is also the younger brother of the taxation minister, currently heads a central government-appointed Group of Ministers (GoM) on casinos, race courses and online gaming.
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