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07 May 2022

The Khasi Jaintia Christian Leaders Forum (KJCLF) met Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Friday to express their concerns over the legalisation of gambling in the state, reported The Shillong Times.  KJCLF Secretary Rev Edwin Kharkongor said the announcement of the legalisation of gambling came as a shock adding that their concern is the impact gambling would have on the morality, character and mental health of the citizens.

Also read: Telangana to soon enact a law permitting games of skill

Rev Kharkongor said since the CM had stated that implementation of the same will not start without taking into consideration the stakeholders including the public’s views, the forum will have to wait and see how things roll out. Last week, the influential Meghalaya United Christian Forum (MUCF) voiced "apprehension and shock" over the state government's decision to legalise gambling and online betting for tourists coming to the state.

The government had earlier announced legalising gambling, but only for the tourists coming to the state. The process started last year when the Regulation of Gaming Rules, 2021 was framed, allowing the issuance of licenses to operate games of skill and chance, both online and offline. The state government had so far issued 3 provisional licenses under the new gaming regulation. 

Locals will be allowed to ‘teer’ that marries betting with the indigenous sport of arrow-shooting. This traditional form of gambling is regulated under the Meghalaya Regulation of the Game of Arrow Shooting and the Sale of Teer Tickets Act, 2018 is exempted from the new gaming law. ‘Teer’ involves shooting a volley of arrows in 10 minutes by about 20 archers squatting in a semicircle. 

Coming to online games, the new Meghalaya law permits games to be played through intranet (terminals) which cannot traverse outside the State of Meghalaya. This is similar to the system currently offered in Sikkim. Only persons above 18 are allowed to play and operators cannot accept any payment above INR 25,000 in cash.

A recent report by the U.K. India Business Council (UKIBC) found Meghalaya to be the most gaming-friendly State in India. The index measures the extent to which each State has legalised gaming and betting based on their stance on seven different games – lottery, horse racing, sports betting, poker, rummy, casino and fantasy sports. Meghalaya scored 92.85 (on a scale of 0 to 100 where 100 is fully legalised) with licences applicable in all seven games. 

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