Bangladesh’s chief opposition party, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) made heads turn when it stated that it refuses to support the government’s idea to initiate setting up of foreigner-only casino zones in the country with an aim to give a boost to the tourism sector.
The statement came as a response to the announcement made by country’s Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary Mohibul Haque. On Tuesday, the dignitary revealed that his government is planning to create four “exclusive tourist zones” which will give an undeniable right to the foreign passport-holding tourists a fair chance to indulge themselves in gambling in casinos.
Mohibul Haque’s idea of opening foreigners-only casinos didn’t go down well with the leader of BNP, Abdul Moyeen Khan. As per the report published by Dhaka Tribune, Moyeen Khan criticized the proposal by calling it “an immoral step” in a country where gambling is strictly forbidden. He even added that,
He showed his displeasure towards the proposal by saying that this will put a threat of the spread of gambling habit and its exposure amongst the natives of Bangladesh.
During an interaction, AHM Mustafa Kamal, member of the ruling Awami League Party and the country’s present Finance Minister, stated that,
He added that an illegal practice could not be legalized by making changes in the law structure.
Earlier this month, police arrested 182 individuals including Khalid Mahmud Bhuiyan who is the leader of the Jubo League, the youth wing of Awami Party. The arrest was made as part of the raid in five establishments which were suspected of facilitating illicit casino operations.
A report revealed that the documents found during the raids on the Mohammedan Sporting Club showed payments of BTK500k (US$5,900) per day as business promotion costs which are likely code for payoffs to politicians and cops.
Finance Minister, Kamal, stated that the authorities are scrutinizing the bank records to look for the people involved in the process.
According to the Dhaka Tribune report, nearly 200 individuals who got arrested in the casino raids have been charged with narcotics, weapons, and money laundering offenses, instead of illegal gambling. The prime reason behind this is the inadequacy of the 152-year-old gambling regulatory prohibitions in relation to the current scenario.