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Sri Lanka proposes $50 casino entry for nationals

Tue, Apr 9, 1:47pm by Staff Writer

The government of Sri Lanka has clarified that a proposed $50 casino entry fee would only apply to nationals, its Finance Minister says.

International visitors would not be required to pay a casino entry levy in order to be admitted to the nation’s casinos, Casino News Daily has reported.

News about Sri Lanka’s plans to introduce an entry fee on visitors wishing to gamble at local casinos first emerged last month and was tacked onto the country’s budget for the next fiscal year.

The casino entry was in conjunction with raised casino license fees and a turnover tax.

Each licensed casino currently operating in Sri Lanka is required to pay an annual licence fee of LKR200 million (US$1.1 million).

Lawmakers decided to double that fee to LKR400 million (US$2.2 million).

In addition to this, licensed casino operators will be obligated to pay an annual 15 per cent tax on gambling turnover, with the new tax taking effect on April 1.

While the increased licence fee and the new turnover tax are expected to have a particularly negative impact on Sri Lanka’s gambling industry, analysts believe that the entry fee could be the one to hurt the sector the most.

Being required to pay an entry fee will discourage players, particularly nationals, from gambling at local casinos, experts worked.

The tiny South Asian island nation has over the years attracted considerable interest among major players in the global casino industry.

In 2013, Australian gaming operators Crown Resorts confirmed that it was in advanced discussions with the government to develop a casino resort in the country’s capital Colombo.

Las Vegas Sands was also eyeing entry into Sri Lanka after a failed attempt in India.

In early 2015, the then newly sworn-in administration of Sri Lanka reportedly cancelled three major casino projects that had previously been given the green light.

Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera clarified last week that the proposed $50 entry fee would only apply to nations and residents of the nation.

It was put in place to discourage locals from gambling at casinos.

Minister Samaraweera also said that the government is preparing to roll out a regulatory framework for gambling in the country.

The new framework is a prerequisite under Sri Lanka’s anti-money laundering law.

Two other popular gambling activities in Sri Lanka are betting on cricket and horse races.

Changes to the way these services are provided are soon to be implemented by the government that will have an impact on these industries.

The legislator revealed last week that cricket betting will soon be banned on the island nation.

The ban was promoted by a request made by Sri Lanka’s Minister of Transports and Civil Aviation, and former cricket player, Arjuna Ranatunga.

Betting on cricket and horse races is available at shops and kiosks around the country, despite there being no definition to the country’s regulatory framework around the legality of such businesses.

Singapore increases casino entry

The Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Social and Family Development in Singapore announced in a joint statement that Singapore citizens and permanent residents will now have to pay SGD $150 every day to visit any of the two integrated casino resorts in the country.

Earlier the levy to enter a casino resort for one day was SGD $100. The annual levy has also been increased by 50 per cent, Casino Buzz reported.

Those who now want to have a yearly pass to enter the integrated resorts will have to shell out SGD $3,000. Earlier it was SGD $2,000 for locals.

The increase for entering gambling facilities has come as the Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa, the two popular Singapore casino resorts, are planning to increase $9 billion in non-gaming activities.

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