Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has ruled out the possibility of repealing the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act 2021 and he said that the state would have to incur a revenue loss of about Rs 10 crore if it gets repealed.
The Meghalaya CM revealed that the act is required to regulate existing gambling parlours which have been present in the hill state for the last 25 years.
“If we repeal (the Act) then there will be nothing to regulate and we will only be losing close to Rs. 8 crores to Rs. 10 crores of revenue,” Conrad K Sangma informed reporters on the night of May 20.
His statement comes after certain Church bodies and organizations had demanded the repeal of the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act, 2021.
However, the chief minister assured that the state government does not intend to set up casinos anywhere in or around major towns and cities of the state.
“We are very clear on that. If there is a way which we can get revenue and at the same time ensure we don’t allow it to be part of Shillong and other major towns so that our youth are not impacted and ensure our youth don’t play and none of the citizens of Meghalaya is allowed to play, we are examining all those aspects,” he said.
He further said that the government is open to dialogue and to finding ways to address all concerns pertaining to the issue as gambling has been present in Meghalaya and it is acceptable by society.
“Let me be frank, we do need revenue. As we are a revenue deficit state, we depend largely on income and taxes that come from the central government. In that case, we will have a huge problem in the coming days and years as so many other activities are coming up and funds are required to run all of this,” the chief minister added.
Meanwhile, the Honourable Governor of Meghalaya has promulgated the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Ordinance 2021 (Meghalaya Ordinance #1 of 2021) (Ordinance) on 13 February 2021. The Ordinance seeks to regulate both ‘games of skill’ and ‘games of chance’ involving betting or wagering.