Residents of Meghalaya, India might find casinos around the neighborhood in the near future. According to a report in The Shillong Times, the state’s government is considering approving legislation that would allow licensed casinos to be constructed. Given India’s love/hate relationship with gambling, any casino legislation is certainly going to meet a fair bit of resistance, and the government has already emphasized that locals would not be allowed to gamble, or even enter, in the casinos.
The news outlet asserts that the Meghalaya administration wants to have a casino in Byrnihat in Ri-Bhio, The legislation is only in its initial draft, but government officials are said to be very interested in bringing the idea to fruition and have ordered several departments to begin created a conceptual implementation of the casino landscape.
Meghalaya has to determine how to overcome the social, moral and religious arguments that could prevent any casino bill from finding approval. There will also be a number of laws that will have to be changed or amended, such as the Meghalaya Prevention of Gambling Act from 1970.
If approved, the state would adopt similar policies found in areas such as Nepal and Sikkim. No locals would be allowed – only foreign nationals and foreign tourists. However, Nepal is already working on an amendment to change the law and allow local citizens to gamble, so it is possible that Meghalaya could follow the same route once casinos are legalized.
Goa, Sikkim, Diu and Daman are the only four states in the country that currently allow legalized casinos.
In general, gambling is not viewed favorably by most lawmakers in India. Attempts at expanding the industry have almost always failed and as recently as last month the country’s parliament heard comments from the Minister of Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad, that gambling legalization should not be allowed at this time.
There has been some movement in the industry over the past year. Riverboat cruises are now beginning to offer casinos and state lotteries could soon be better controlled. However, other areas, such as poker and sports gambling, still face an uphill battle.