After the recent spate of arrests and public backlash, authorities in Bangladesh are thinking about setting up foreigner-only casino zones.
This past Tuesday, Mohibul Haque, the Civil Aviation and Tourism secretary, announced that they are making plans to develop exclusive zones for tourists where foreigners can access casino services after showing a passport or travel papers.
During the press conference, organized by the ministry fell on the international tourism day and right on the wake of the recent crackdown on gambling establishments across the capital city. Among those arrested includes high-ranking members of the ruling party.
Haque, quoted by the Daily Star, stated that the tourism ministry is fully committed and supportive of the recent crackdown, but also suggested that there should be no issue in providing gambling facilities to foreigner in gambling zones.
The population of Bangladesh currently stands at 90 percent Muslim, and the religion does not look kindly on gambling. However, Haque pointed out that Malaysia is predominantly Muslim although they have provision for gambling for foreigners at their Genting Highland resort.
The secretary’s comments appear to have surprised other government officials. Addressing the media after Haque, and quoted by the Dhaka Tribute, Obaidul Quader, the Awami’s general secretary, stated that there has been no discussion at the highest level on whether casinos or gambling zones will be allowed.
The general secretary also added that the government is monitoring for those who are suspected of taking part in any illegal gambling activities.
In the meantime, Monirul Islam, Dhaka’s Metropolitan Police commissioner, has downplayed claims that the police informed some of the foreigners of an impending raid ahead of time.