The Sri Lankan government is currently evaluating ten applications for new casinos, a revelation made by State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya in response to a parliamentary query. As of now, these applications are awaiting official approval. This disclosure comes in the wake of recent regulatory changes in the country's approach to casino licensing.
Under the newly enacted laws governing casinos, the government is imposing a substantial fee of Rs. 500 million for a five-year license. Additionally, there are plans to raise entrance fees as part of an effort to discourage local residents from frequenting casinos. Siyambalapitiya clarified that the primary objective behind introducing casinos is to attract tourists, thereby contributing to an increase in state revenue.
The decision to grant licenses for two new casinos, including one in the historically significant city of Kandy, has sparked criticism from various quarters. Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella has vocally opposed the establishment of casinos in areas with sacred significance. He urged the government not to allow casinos in Kandy, Anuradhapura, and Adam's Peak, emphasizing the need to protect places of cultural and religious importance.
The broader context of this move revolves around the government's strategy to leverage casinos as a means to boost tourism, consequently enhancing state finances. The deliberations and controversies surrounding these developments underscore the intricate balance required between economic considerations, regulatory frameworks, and cultural sensitivities.
By fLEXI tEAM