A US$50 entry fee to be imposed on visitors to Sri Lankan casinos will only apply to locals, the government has revealed.
Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera clarified on Friday that the levy was intended primarily to discourage local residents from gambling and would therefore not apply to foreign visitors.
It follows the announcement last month of a range of measures aimed at boosting government coffers and targeted at Sri Lanka’s casinos, including a doubling of the annual license fee from LKR200 million (US$1.1 million) to LKR400 million (US$2.2 million) and a 15% turnover tax on casino revenue. Both came into effect from 1 April.
Samaraweera added on Friday that a framework for the regulation of gambling would soon be taken up given that gambling regulation is required by Sri Lanka’s anti-money laundering laws.
Betting on cricket is also set to be outlawed, ironically at the request of former Sri Lankan cricket captain and now Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Arjuna Ranatunga.
Cricket betting has traditionally operated in a legal gray area alongside betting on horse racing, but will soon follow India’s lead by being banished to the realms of the underground.