The Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) has asked Chief Minister Conrad Sangma to keep in abeyance the implementation of Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act, 2021 in the state.
Attending the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance Coordination committee meeting chaired by the Chief Minister, HSPDP chief KP Pangniang has aired the views of his party in this regard.
Talking to reporters, Pangniang said, “As a party we feel that unless and until we see the whole picture clause by clause of this act, we feel that it is better to keep the implementation of this act in abeyance. “
“I on behalf of the party feel that it is not appropriate to implement this act immediately in our state,” he said.
Admitting that he has not read all the clauses of the act, the HSPDP chief said, “….to my understanding, if this gaming act is implemented in our state, it will affect the so called sentiment of the people since the majority of the citizen of the state they are Christians, so we cannot deny the fact that gambling is one of the factor that we feel is not appropriate to encourage in our state.”
After interacting with the Chief Minister, he said, “ At the same time through the media report, we have seen that even casino will be put in place in our state but after the chief Minister brief us the whole purpose of this act, yes there are some clauses that gambling like teer is one of the age old practice in our state, for that particular purpose we feel that it is ok that the Government has to regulate this type of gambling.”
Despite being persuaded by the cabinet, the coalition partner HSPDP said it is not appropriate to implement this act immediately in the state.
Asked about the gaming act, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said, “….it is only done to regulate the gaming and jackpot parlours which are already present for the past 25 years.”
Clarifying further the CM said, “The different kind of gaming parlours they are called jackpot parlours, they have been there in Shillong and other parts of the state for the past 25 years and these have been functioning without any rules, any laws or any regulations and obviously that means they are not paying the tax either.”
The Chief Minister further stated that the reason why this particular gaming act has been brought in is mainly to regulate these existing gaming parlours and jackpot parlours in the state, so that they come within the purview of law and more importantly are compelled to pay taxes.
He further claimed that small and online game parlours were operating in the state without paying tax.