Bangladesh Official Proposes Foreigner-only Gambling Zones

Mohibul Haque, Secretary of the Bangladesh Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry, said the nation could establish foreign-only gambling areas after a significant crackdown on illegal casinos was introduced.

The Rapid Action Battalion raided three casinos with gambling illegally in Bangladesh and detained 50 alleged gamblers previously this week, causing Haque to propose a alternative to allow gambling for strangers, but not Bangladeshi nationals.

The casinos suggested would be situated in Bagerhat, Khulna, Satkhira and Cox’s Bazar, all situated in the country’s south, a famous tourist region.

At a press conference on Tuesday in advance of World Tourism Day, Haque produced the declaration in favour of foreign-only casinos, in which clients must demonstrate a non-Bangladeshi passport to register. He quoted Malaysia as an instance of an Islamic country that permitted visitors to play but not their own people.

“I believe if we create an exclusive zone for the foreign tourists, we can provide similar facilities available in other Muslim countries,” he said. “I don’t see a problem with that.”

“I don’t disagree with the government’s drive [to crack down on illegal casinos]” Haque added. “All I want to say is that the proposed casinos will cater only to foreigners.”

However, the move has attracted significant controversy as Supreme Court attorney Eunus Ali Akond submitted a legal notification to Haque and others engaged in the casino company, stating that the notion of foreign casino alone would breach Article 18(2) of the Constitution and the 1867 Public Gambling Act, and requesting Haque and others to clarify why legal action should not be taken against them.

The notification was also sent to MP Rashed Khan Menon, one of the clubs attacked the president of the Youngmen’s Club, claiming that Menon should be kept accountable for the gambling operations found at the club.