Legalised gambling only for tourists, says Meghalaya Minister James Sangma

State will be third in northeast to make gambling legal

April 22, 2022 12:32 pm | Updated 12:32 pm IST - GUWAHATI:

‘Teer’ is a traditional form of gambling popular in Meghalaya.

‘Teer’ is a traditional form of gambling popular in Meghalaya. | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar

Meghalaya is set to add globalised forms of legalised gambling to the indigenous ‘teer’ or betting on the number of arrows hitting a target of straw.

State Law and Taxation Minister James P.K. Sangma said Meghalaya, a popular tourist destination, intended to generate adequate revenue from legalised gambling, online betting and gaming.

“We came out with a Gaming Act and subsequently framed the Regulation of Gaming Rules, 2021. The government will accordingly issue licences to operate games of skill and chance, both online and offline,” he told journalists in State capital Shillong on Thursday.

Legalised gambling, he said, would help generate employment opportunities, besides boosting tourism.

“But the legalised gambling and gaming will only be for tourists and not residents of Meghalaya,” Mr. Sangma added.

Tourists and visitors for work or business would be allowed to participate in such activities only after producing documents similar to what banks require for KYC (know your customer).

The process for legalised gambling started in February 2021, leading to the nullification of the Meghalaya Prevention of Gambling Act, 1970, effectively making gambling legal within the State.

Meghalaya will be the third State in the northeast after Sikkim and Nagaland to make gambling and online gaming legal.

The push for legalised gambling started after Mr. Sangma met representatives of the U.K. India Business Council (UKIBC) and other U.K.-based business houses to discuss the online gaming and sports betting landscape in the State.

The UKIBC’s Gaming Industry Index found Meghalaya to be the most gaming-friendly State in India. The index measures the extent to which each State has legalised gaming and betting based on their stance on seven different games – lottery, horse racing, sports betting, poker, rummy, casino and fantasy sports.

Meghalaya scored 92.85 (on a scale of 0 to 100 where 100 is fully legalised) with licences applicable in all seven games. Mr. Sangma said the government had not signed any agreement for opening casinos in the State.

Unlike the gambling activities to be introduced, locals are allowed to participate in ‘teer’ that marries betting with the indigenous sport of arrow-shooting. This traditional form of gambling is conducted under the Meghalaya Regulation of the Game of Arrow Shooting and the Sale of Teer Tickets Act, 2018.

‘Teer’ involves shooting a volley of arrows in 10 minutes by about 20 archers squatting in a semicircle. They are required to hit a target – a bundle of straw – about 50 m away as many times as possible.  

Bettors wager on how many arrows will end up on the target, choosing a number between 0 and 99. This number represents the last two digits of the total number of arrows that find their mark. For instance, if 348 arrows hit the target, everyone who had bet on 48 wins eight times the money placed on the number.

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