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Sri Lanka relaxes taxes for casinos, attracts foreign investment- offers an alternative to Goa, Sikkim casinos



In a bid to attract foreign investment for casinos and to promote tourism, the Sri Lankan government has brought a proposal to reduce taxes on casinos to a mere five per cent and also offer tax holidays and long-term exemptions to those investing in this sector.

According to a recent report in Forbes,  Australian casino operator Crown Limited, India’s leading and only publicly traded casino company Delta Corp and certain other Asian companies are planning to open Macau style casinos in Sri Lanka. The report also speculates that American billionaire and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his company Las Vegas Sands (LVS) may be interested in starting operations in Sri Lanka as part of his long term vision to target the Indian gaming market.

A 2012 Forbes report also points out that LVS and Adelson are very keen to start casino operations in India and had even requested the Delhi tourism department to allow foreign investment in casinos, but the government has been unresponsive to demands for changing India’s archaic gaming laws.

It remains to be seen whether Sri Lanka will emerge as an alternative and successful gaming destination in Asia given the interest of major global casino companies and reduced tax burden on companies.  It may be noted that various casinos flourish in Colombo and other parts of Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka the first casinos opened in 1977 and the industry was largely unregulated and unlicensed until 2010.

The Sri Lankan parliament however passed the Casino (Business) Regulation Act 0f 2010 (having effect from 1st January 2012) which makes it mandatory to procure  licenses from the appropriate Ministry before commencing gaming licenses. Running unlicensed gaming operations has been made a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment upto five years and/or fine upto Sri Lanka Rs. five million.

Note: A copy of the Casino (Business) Regulation Act  [in English] can be accessed here.

Jay has researched extensively on gaming laws and has been cited by various media houses and journals as an expert. He has helped leading newspapers in their stories on gaming laws. Jay completed his B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) degree from NUJS, Kolkata in 2015 and is currently based out of Mumbai.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Metteyya Brahmana

    April 25, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Sheldon Adelson is a corrupt AIPAC Jew who thinks he can buy anyone to spread his vice-oriented gambling business around the world. Instead of carrying water for Adelson in Sri Lanka by trying to orchestrate the creation of gambling zones in ‘future’ Tamil-governed areas in Northern Sri Lanka that would be exempt from the Casino Regulation Act cited in this article, Robert O. Blake and the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka should turn Adelson in to the Feds for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in Sri Lanka.

    In fact, if they are not careful, they may find themselves under scrutiny, as trying to exploit the Tamil post-war situation in the North to promote the gambling interests of a particular individual violates a number of criminal anti-corruption and racketeering statutes in the United States.

    No one wants Adelson’s gambling business, as he has been rebuffed by 49 out of the 50 states in the U.S., and rebuffed in his recent effort in India. Most people know that the many associated vices (prostitution, drug addiction, alcoholism, organized crime, etc.) with gambling make it totally incompatible with spiritually oriented places like India and Sri Lanka.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist Power Force) organized effort to protest the development of gambling in Sri Lanka, much like what we saw with the Halal certification. Organizing at the grass roots in Sri Lanka, village-to-village-temple-to-temple against gambling business development in Sri Lanka is something that will boost Bodu Bala Sena’s public image, as this would be a ‘unifying’ effort in which Buddhists, sincere Muslims, and Hindu-Tamils in Sri Lanka could all agree.

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