India: Meghalaya, rated the most ‘gambling-friendly’ state in a business report, seeks to become a gambling hub

The state of Meghalayain northeast India, could potentially become a gambling destination in the future. The state government is laying the groundwork to convert the region into a hub for legalized gambling, online gambling and sports bettingreports Shillong Times.

The plans follow the passage in February 2021 of the Meghalaya Gambling Regulation Ordinance, which legalized gambling activities within the state. by overturning the Meghalaya Prevention of Gambling Act of 1970. The state, the third in northeast India after Sikkim and Nagaland to legalize iGaming and gambling — now intends to take advantage of this opportunity.

The Minister of Law and Taxation, James PK Sangma, met with representatives of the UK and India Business Council (UKIBC) and several UK-based companies to discuss the state’s iGaming and sports betting landscape. This has led to the launch of a UKIBC industry report titled Gaming for Growth – India’s Sports and Gaming Market Potential, the quoted source says.

According to the UKIBC, Meghalaya is already a strong candidate to become a gambling hub: its Gambling Industry Index defines the state as the “most gambling-friendly” state in India.. The index, which measures the extent to which states have legalized all forms of gambling – lottery, horse racing, sports betting, poker, rummy, casino, fantasy sports – scored Meghalaya 92.85 out of 100.

The UKIBC suggests in its report that a clear approach to regulation would attract foreign direct investment (FDI), create jobs, boost growth, increase government tax revenue and support the tourism sector.. It also offers recommendations for India to take advantage of the growing opportunities offered by the gambling industry.

We commend the government of Meghalaya for its forward-thinking approach to licensing gambling in the statewhich will help increase revenue and create jobs for the state,” commented UKIBC chief executive Kevin McCole.

The expert further pointed out that a regulated market offers guarantees and protection to players, which are not available “in the unregulated sector”. Besides, he predicted that India’s unregulated and unregulated gambling industries will continue to grow significantly.

“So there are good reasons to work to ensure that this growth takes place within the framework of regulation,” he continued. “To do this, we recommend that the Government of India adopt the Law Commission’s 2018 recommendation that sports betting should be regulated.. Notably because it will attract FDI, boost domestic investment, create jobs, generate government revenue and enable responsible gambling.

India’s gaming industry has seen growth in recent times, including a dramatic increase in online gaming during the pandemic. This has led to conversations about how to approach the problem: currently, regulations vary widely from state to state, while the Indian industry as a whole divides gambling into two categories, “games of ‘address’ and ‘games of chance’.

While states like Meghalaya have decided to regulate the sector, others like Karnataka have tried to ban it, proving the absence of a uniform framework across the country.. Currently, Meghalaya is among the select few whose legislation in place does not cover both skill-based and gambling.

“We thought it was prudent to regulate rather than outright ban in order to give space to all stakeholders with good intentions to come together and grow together and at the same time take action against actors. who take our people for a ride”, Sarika Aggarwal Synrem, Government of Meghalayahad said about the decision, according to Medianama.

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