Shillong: The National People’s Party (NPP)-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government has announced its decision to completely scrap the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act (MRGA), 2021 following stiff opposition against the move to set up casinos in the state.
Informing this today, Taxation Minister James K Sangma said, “It will be my earnest endeavour to see that the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act, 2021, will be repealed.”
This came days after the Khasi Jaintia Church Leaders Forum (KJCLF) organized a special prayer meeting against the government’s adamant attitude towards their demand for the closure of the casino industry and repealing of the MRGA, 2021.
He said last year, with the aim of boosting tourism, revenue generation and employment for the people of the state, the Department of Taxation, Government of Meghalaya, introduced the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act, 2021, under his guidance.
This Act would legalise and regulate gaming in Meghalaya. Till that extent, introducing casinos — meant for tourists only — was considered as well.
He however said over the months that followed, there were concerns expressed from parts of the society with regard to the scope and impact of the Act.
The minister also met with stakeholders that included religious organisations, non-governmental organisations, civil society representations, Dorbar Shnongs, autonomous and local governance bodies and youth organisations.
“During this process, I tried to understand the concerns of the public and the impact that the Act could have further on. Following such meetings and deliberations, it became clear to me that it is in the best interest of our state to completely scrap the Act, given that there could be untoward implications,” he said.
Thanking all concerned who came forward to aid, advise and provide feedback to the Government on the Act, Sangma said the citizenry is the keystone of any democracy and it only strengthens our commitment to better governance when the collective conscience is addressed.