Sri Lanka delays bill on casino approval, plans to tweak tax concessions

The Sri Lankan government has said it’s delaying the presentation of a bill that would approve three new casinos and grant the projects significant tax concessions. The move follows opposition from both Buddhist and Muslim parties within the ruling coalition. 

The bill had been scheduled to be presented before parliament on Thursday and would give the go-ahead to a $400 million development from James Packer’s Crown and a $650 million project from John Keells Holding. The new bill, which is expected to be presented in about a month, may restrict locals from entering the casinos and may tweak tax rules to impose a 5 percent tax on gross gaming revenue, rather than net revenue as previously stated. Meanwhile, James Packer confirmed his plans for a five-star resort on Colombo’s Beira Lake in a regulatory filing to the Australian stock exchange. It will have 450 rooms, restaurants, shops and conference facilities.