Christian Group Criticises Gambling Legislation In Indian State

Leaders from a Christian organisation in Meghalaya are criticising the local government for introducing gambling legislation.

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Staff Reporter
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Leaders from a Christian organisation in Meghalaya are criticising the local government for introducing gambling legislation.

Khasi Jaintia Christian Leaders Forum (KJCLF) secretary Rev. EH Kharkongor raised concerns over immorality and the negative effect of legalisation on individuals and citizens residing in the state.

In a meeting with Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K. Sangma, Mr Kharkongor said: "Our concern is with the immoral aspects of it; the immorality, the character of the citizens of the state from individuals to families. Another concern is that a person engaged in gambling…studies have shown detrimental impacts, like mental health and other implications. It also leads to criminal activities, affecting the individual, family and the society in different ways."

Why Mr Kharkongor Is Shortsighted In His Views

One of his main concerns appears to be the detrimental impacts on the bettor - citing the individual's mental health capacity and criminal activities arising from gambling legalisation.

He completely ignores the current illegal gambling crisis that courses through the country.

A recent paper from leading iGaming analysts ENV Media believes the levels of illegal gambling in India are rampant, and it poses a significant risk to every Indian citizen.

In their paper, Off-Shore Gambling Licenses and Regulated Markets, they surmise:

"In a nation with widespread illegal betting and gambling (reportedly worth well over $100bn annually), criminal activity has had the chance to flourish and continues to engage public resources and law-enforcement efforts. Emerging markets (India in particular but not only) will benefit from creating their own Central regulatory framework, a Gambling oversight body, and a Consumer Data protection regulation.

"As a recent publication points out, the key reasons to regulate the gambling market aim to transform risks and missed opportunities in public benefits and a better-controlled environment."

If player safety is at the vanguard of Mr Kharkongor's mind, perhaps he would find more in common with gambling regulation than he may think.

Responsible Gambling Awareness at Forefront of India's Regulatory Future

There is little room for enforcing responsible gambling measures in India's vast illegal gambling landscape. Under a uniform authority, there are several methods to help ensure a bettor is playing within their means.

Responsible gambling tools include:

Deposit Limits: The ability to limit the amount a player can deposit in any given period - usually stretching between a day and a month.

Loss Limits: The player cannot lose more than a set amount in any given period.

Take A Break: If a player feels they are gambling too much, they can enable a temporary suspension of their account.

There are also Know Your Customer (KYC) protocols a player must pass before being allowed to play at a licensed operator. This process requires a player to verify the source of their funds through company payslips or invoices.

How Mature Markets Help Protect Players

In territories such as Sweden, immense importance is placed on responsible gambling.

According to the above study, the Scandinavian country invokes stringent measures to optimise player safety.

"The current regulation places importance on the national self-exclusion program; on the obligation of placing responsible gambling buttons on all gaming pages; the elimination of fast-play on slots; no VIP and loyalty programs; and limits on bonuses to one per player per operator."

"Stockholm University researchers explain (in 2018-2019, on the cusp of the recent regulatory changes) that authorities needed non-licensed companies to turn behaviour tracking and monitoring into an active role in preventing harm.

Live cricket satta rates, online roulette, teen patti - many online gambling opportunities are available to Indian citizens already. Rather than a crackdown on a widespread issue, would it not be more beneficial to open minds and educate about the importance of safe and responsible gambling under an all-encompassing authority?

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