Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has reportedly put an end to immediate hopes of an expanded casino industry in the country, revealing that no investor will be allowed to build new casinos under his watch.
Speaking to the media during the International Enterprise Singapore Global Conversations business forum at Singapore’s Shangri-La Hotel, Wickremesinghe explained his response to a question one attendee had asked regarding the previous regime’s support for the casino industry.
“I responded that no investor would be provided space to begin the casino industry within Sri Lanka,” the Prime Minister said, insisting good government should not need to rely on casinos to bolster the nation’s revenue base.
Sri Lanka has long been considered a largely untapped market when it comes to casinos but despite the likes of Crown, Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts all expressing interest an expanded industry has failed to materialize.
The current Sri Lankan government has proven to be particularly anti-casino, blocking three major casino projects in early 2015 and imposing a raft of restrictions that threaten the financial security of the nation’s current batch of smaller properties.
Last year it imposed a new US$7m fee on the country’s four casino operators, doubled the annual casino levy and added a 25% surtax on casino profits.