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Friday, May 24, 2024

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Friday, May 24, 2024

Gaming and Gambling

By the Editor

In order to attract tourists from outside the state, preferably from abroad, the government has mooted the idea of starting casinos and gambling parlours in the state thereby earning revenue. Church leaders and public have expressed their reservations fearing that many locals might be easily lured, which soon may turn into a habit and so difficult to get rid of. Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma clarified that the locations will be far from residential areas, like those from Byrnihat Bridge towards Jorabat and Khanapara while asserting that locals will be prohibited. In earlier years, even before India’s independence, local tribals were very fond of indirect forms of gambling like arrow-shooting matches and bullfights, which took place usually once or twice a week with the duration of a week being eight days among the Khasi Jaintias. Children and kids were mere spectators and they were not allowed to place bets. This practice, considered to be part of sports and recreation, still prevails. A few years after Meghalaya attained statehood, the then government issued license for lottery and which continued for quite some years.

Teer game, locally known as Thoh Team, was indiscreetly practised in some areas of Shillong and around the city. The government initially tried to ban it but was unsuccessful, and after studying and observing people’s habit it legalised it thus generating handsome revenue. Because of open practice and prohibition of selling and buying of teer tickets near sensitive areas like educational institutions and places of religious worship, soon people got used to it and gambling game now part of daily life without opposition from any quarter. Earlier, restrictions and fines for lawbreakers in such cases did not bear fruit and, instead, people from various backgrounds indulged in teer game on the sly making them feel guilty initially, but soon got hooked to it nevertheless. In teer game, children and young kids are prohibited from selling and buying teer tickets/slips and gradually people indulged in the game, which was considered as a profession from which they earn their bread and butter for a living.

Monaco, a tiny independent country situated high on a large rock that juts out into the Mediterranean Sea south east of France, is only a little more than half square mile or about 370 acres in area and hence its official name is Principality of Monaco. Its main economy is tourism. Tourists visiting this beautiful and picturesque land far outnumber its inhabitants of about 25,000 only. In addition, income comes from liquor taxes and from operation of the casinos. More than half of its population is employed in tourism and casinos and the rest work in industry. The people of Monaco, known as the Monegasques, speak French and are fervent Christians. Crime is practically absent and women are highly respected. Citizens are greatly aware of the value of tourism and they are very courteous to tourists, treating them with respect and cordiality. People are to understand the need for tourists visiting the state and at the same time extend respect and hospitality to these honoured guests who will indirectly contribute to the state’s income. Moreover, educated unemployed youths will get opportunities of employment.

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