Shillong, Jun 3 : Teer, the only form of legalized gambling in Meghalaya, where people bet on archery, will be live-streamed on Facebook due to COVID-19 pandemic. Teer is a betting game played every day in the form of a traditional archery and betting goes across Meghalaya. For some, this game is also guided by some divine interpretation of dreams and interprets them in a numerical form and places bets on archery competitions.
“We have decided to live-stream the arrow shooting and only five bookies will be allowed to witness the shooting to ensure that there is no manipulation,” said Philip Gean Khongsngi, president of the Khasi Hills Archery Sports Institute (KHASI), the body which regulates the game in Meghalaya. On Friday, the state government decided to allow resumption of non-contact sporting activities, which included archery and the game of numbers.
“A distance of about five feet from each shooter will be strictly maintained and shooters will be allotted a proper red mark spot during the shooting and after which they shall be given a place with a distance of about six feet,” Khongsngi said. The regulatory body also decided to reduce the number of arrow shooters from 50 to 30 persons to ensure social distancing in the shooting arena. On normal occasions apart from the people who shoot the arrows, bookies and a crowd of 200- 300 persons gather at the shooting arena in Polo Grounds.
Teer was legalised in Meghalaya in the early eighties and is governed by rules framed under the Meghalaya Amusement and Betting Tax Act. “Teer is not only one of the favourite pastimes or a hobby, but also is putting food on thousands of tables. There are around 5,000 people who are directly employed through Teer while there are more than a lakh who are indirectly employed,” Khongsngi said. He said that the pandemic and the lockdown had affected the livelihood of many of those who are dependent on the game. Scores of people play this betting by booking certain numbers from any Teer counter, and the betting starts from 1 rupee and up to Rs 100, but there are a few who place bets for thousands of rupees as well. Meghalaya has about 5,000 teer counters across the eleven districts of the State. (UNI)