While many are still debating on if gambling should be allowed or not, Meghalaya has taken a step to legalize gambling. In March 2021, a new gaming regulation was passed to allow for legal gambling. This comes after states like Andra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu banned all forms of online casino and betting.
The decision to effect the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act was initially announced by Conrad Sangma, the Chief Minister on January 14, 2021. However, it was only published on February 17 after receiving approval from Governor Satya Pal Malik.
While speaking to the press about this decision, James Sangma stated that gaming has always been one of the most popular global pastime activities. And that the decision to introduce a regulation was to improve revenues and also to monitor gaming activities.
Licensing of gambling
According to the ordinance, both skill and chance games will be regulated within the state with a license. Its definition of gaming includes betting money or other valuables on games of chance and skill.
The new law seeks to make it possible for players to enjoy games on the internet without hassles. The operators would be required to acquire a five-year license to be regulated by the ordinance. Licensed operators would be expected to remit a percentage of their gross gaming revenue to the state government.
Punishments for illegal or unlicensed conduction of gambling activities have also been proposed. People caught organizing such can be sentenced to two years imprisonment or charged with a fine of INR 10 lakh.
The law has also made provision for an independent regulatory agency named the Meghalaya Gaming Commission. This agency will be responsible for monitoring all betting and gaming activities taking place in the state. The three-member agency consists of an experienced gaming and betting enthusiast, a retired high court official, and someone from civil society.
The Meghalaya Gaming Commission is also tasked with issuing policies and guidelines for all gaming activities. Licensed holders will be monitored for adherence to the rules by the commission. Disputes between players and operators would also be addressed by the commission.
According to the government, the state’s approach to gaming activities aims to aid the economy and also provide a form of legal entertainment for gamers.
This of course leads to a question in the hearts of many fans of online casino. Will Meghalaya’s approach to online casino seen as a model to be explored by other states?
No one can tell for now. But what’s sure is that the introduction of gambling licensing in India brings hope to the future of online casino in India.