Good news for foreign visitors at Sri Lankan casinos. The earlier proposed $50 casino entry fee now doesn’t apply to nationals but to native of Sri Lankans or local punters. This means that international visitors would not be required to pay the levy in order to be admitted to the nation’s casinos.
This was clarified by Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera that the proposed $50 entry fee would only apply to nationals and residents of the tiny South Asian island nation. The purpose of the levy would be to discourage locals from gambling at casinos.
News about Sri Lanka’s plan to introduce an entry fee on visitors wishing to gamble at local casinos first emerged in March 2019. The proposal was tacked onto the country’s budget for the next fiscal year.
Sri Lankan lawmakers also presented a plan for a drastic increase in the annual license fee casino operators are required to pay. Seeking additional revenue for the nation’s coffers, the government has decided to double that fee to LKR400 million (approx. $2.2 million) from LKR200 million. In addition, casino owners will also be obligated to pay a 15% tax on their full-year gambling turnover. The new tax took effect on April 1st 2019.
Minister Samaraweera also said that the government is preparing to roll out a framework for the regulation of gambling in the country. The adoption of a new framework was a prerequisite under Sri Lanka’s anti-money laundering law.
Ban on Cricket betting
Aside from casinos, betting on cricket and horse races are two other gambling activities that are particularly popular with Sri Lankan gamblers. However, changes in the way these are provided are soon to be implemented, as announced by Minister Samaraweera.
The legislator revealed that cricket betting, an activity currently conducted by two private companies, would soon be banned on the territory of the island nation. The ban was prompted by a request made Sri Lanka’s Minister of Transports and Civil Aviation and a former cricket player Arjuna Ranatunga.
At present, betting on cricket and horse races is available at shops and kiosks around the country, even though there are no clear-cut definitions in the country’s regulatory framework on the legality of such shops and kiosks.
Sri Lanka has previously been eyed by a number of major international gambling companies that have reportedly expressed interest in opening casino resorts on the territory of the nation. Australia’s Crown Resorts was at some point in advanced discussions to launch a hotel and casino complex in the capital Colombo but those fell through later on. Las Vegas giants Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts International, and Caesars Entertainment Corp. were too among those mentioned by local media in relation to their potential interest into expanding to Sri Lanka.
Casinos at Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a country in Central Asia with legal gambling. The largest gambling city in Sri Lanka is Colombo with 5 gambling facilities, 178 tables games, 134 gaming, slot, and video poker machines.
The largest casino in the entire country of Sri Lanka is Casino Marina Colombo which is located in Colombo. Casino Marina Colombo has 90 table games, 40 poker tables, 70 gaming and video poker machines.