Despite the new civilianized government’s announcement in April which is to eliminate all gambling games in the country, over a hundred gambling dens are being witnessed along with the Hot Air Balloon Competition festival in Taunggyi, capital of Shan State, local sources reported.There are several types of gambling dens like dominoes, Markingloi, Gonggin, Hilo, Thone Gaung Gyin (three animal dice) ,Mahjong, Lay Gaung Gyin (four animal dice), and 36 animal- lottery.
Gambling syndicates were reportedly told to pay Kyat 2 million ($ 2,667) each to Shan State Finance and Revenue as taxes. The gambling contracts were reportedly given to the former ceasefire group Pa-O National Organization (PNO), according to a vendor. But SHAN could not obtain independent confirmation on the statement.
The gambling dens are opening at the same place of the Hot Air Balloons Festival, at Sawsi Quarters, south of Taunggyi. The event started on 3 November and will last until 11 November.
The Taunggyi Balloon festival is a unique festival in Burma and is held only once a year after the end of the Buddhist Lent in November.
“Thousands of people are coming to enjoy the festival including foreigners. So it is not good to have such gambling which is destroying the live and habit of the people at this place. It will be a bad image for us. And the number of crimes has been increasing,” said an elder from Taunggyi.
Members of Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) are having a discussion to submit the case to President Thein Sein to enforce the law against gambling, according to an SNDP source.
In April, President had formed a committee to eliminate gambling and prostitution.