Sri Lanka needs regulatory authority before issuing casino licenses

Posted: Nov 28, 2022 12:57 Category: Asia , Land-Based , Regulatory , Posted by Sharon Singleton

A leading Sri Lankan MP has said that the nation needs to set up a Casino Regulatory Authority before issuing any new licenses.

Dr. Harsha de Silva, who chairs the Committee on Public Finance, points out that no casino licenses are granted anywhere in the world without a regulatory body.

He recommended that action should be taken immediately to establish a regulator, local media reports. 

Sri Lanka currently has a handful of casinos operating in the capital Colombo. However, the cash-strapped nation is considering issuing further licenses to boost its tourism industry and raise revenue for the government.

In September, President Ranil Wickremesinghe published rules to expand the sector under a 2010 law.

The rules would allow the issuance of five-year licenses renewable up to 20 years, local media reported, citing government gazette notices. The five-year license would cost 500 million rupees.

Earlier this month, the Lotus Tower Management Company revealed it had signed an accord to open a casino and entertainment area in the Colombo Lotus Tower. 

Local media reported that the complex was scheduled to open within the next six months following an accord with Singapore’s Kreate Design Pte. Total investment in the project was reported as $1 billion, although it’s unclear who would operate the casino.

A further $1.4 billion entertainment zone was approved last year as part of a plan to rejuvenate the Colombo port district. The project is backed by Chinese investors.

The government also announced recently that it plans to raise taxes on casinos in the country.

Ministry of Finance announced the annual taxes on casinos have been raised by 150 percent from 200 million rupees to 500 million ($1.4 million).

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