Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina cracked jokes on legalising casinos even saying that a separate zone will be allocated for the gambling facilities.
The premier made the remarks while addressing a media call on her recent US and India visits on Wednesday (Oct 9).
“Bhashan Char is a large island. If needed, we’ll arrange for casino facilities on one side and for the Rohingyas to live on the other,” she said, laughing.
“I’m being realistic. If a habit turns into a bad habit then it can’t be changed,” she said and added that if needed a separate zone will be allocated for casinos and Bhashan Char at Noakhali, with its area is a viable option.
The premier said if required, a regulation for gambling and casinos will be drafted and the owners will have to take license as well as pay taxes which will boost the country’s revenue.
The country’s gambling dens came under spotlight after Rapid Action Battalion busted casinos at Young Men's Club, Wanderers Club and Muktijoddha Krira Chakra in Dhaka on Sept 18.
The raids unveiled that involvement of Awami Leagu’s youth front, Jubo League leaders in overseeing the illicit gambling operations and the elite police unit arrested Khalid Mahmud, organising secretary of Jubo League's Dhaka south unit, the same day.
The following day, they nabbed Kalabagan Krira Chakra President and Krishak League leader Shafiqul Alam Firoz.
GK Shamim, Jubo League leader and businessman, was arrested two days later for money laundering, illegal possession of arms, and narcotics.
Later, raids by the Dhaka Metropolitan Police at the Mohammedan Sporting Club, Dilkhusha Sporting Club, Victoria Sporting Club and Arambagh Sporting Club also uncovered similar gambling operations.
On Thursday (Sept 27) RAB arrested Mohammedan’s Director-in-Charge Lokman Hossain Bhuiyan and charged him with money laundering, over his proceedings from the decades-old club.
The most recent arrest made over casinos is that of now expelled Jubo League south unit chief Ismail Hossain Chowdhury Samrat who allegedly operated as many as 10 casinos across Dhaka.