The Shillong Times has reported that the Meghalaya legislative body is considering casino legislation as the first step in the establishment of a gaming area in the Indian state.
According to the report, the government of the northeastern region is proposing the establishment of a new gaming venue in Byrnihat, Ri-Bhoi, with first draft proposals already under consideration.
“There is pressure from the political bosses to see that the idea materialised and talks are also on for starting a casino,” said the local paper.
“Though the idea is still at the planning stage, concerned departments have been asked to start work- ing on it.”
The proposals directly oppose the prohibitive Meghalaya Prevention of Gambling Act, passed in 1970, however, the example of casino integration policy in nearby Nepal and Sikkim as well as the stablished presence of casinos in Goa, Diu and Daman could prove profitable.
As with Nepalese gambling law, any Meghalaya casino would only allowforeign nationals and foreign tourists to enter the casino and gamble, though much could depend on the success of Nepal’s amendment bid to widen that entry requirement to include local citizens.
Wider Indian gambling law is hamstrung by considerable moral and religious opposition to the practice from the country’s federal legislators, with minister of law and justice Ravi Shankar Prasad stating as recently as December that legislation was not welcome.
Lawmakers in Meghalaya will need to over- come similar objection on a state level if any positive legislation is to succeed.