Sri Lanka Ups Casino Licensing and Renewal Fees

Land Based Casinos Legislation
Alan Campbell

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Alan Campbell

Last Updated on 19th January 2024, 04:17 PM

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Sri Lanka Ups Casino Licensing and Renewal Fees

The government of Sri Lanka has amended existing legislation to substantially increase its land-based casino licensing and renewal fees as part of an effort to boost tax revenues amid a surge in foreign currency exchange irregularities.

The rises announced by the southern Asian nation’s Finance Minister, Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, came into force from the first day of the year, BNN reports, following the ratification of changes to the prevailing Casino Business Licensing Regulation Number 01 of 2022.

Contemporary Commitments

The island country’s current six-strong club of casinos will now each be required to hand over approximately $31 million and agree to some $6.2 million in duties to have their 20-year operating licenses renewed. These latter obligations have been structured at around $1.5 million for the first half-decade, followed by almost $4.7 million to be collected over the course of the remaining 15 years. There are no licenses for online casino sites as of yet. 

The amended legislation will also oblige operators looking to enter the Sri Lankan retail casino landscape to pay a $31 million operating license fee and sign up to the same duty regime so long as they have spent at least $250 million on their gambling-friendly establishment. But this commitment is to drop to about $15.5 million for those who have invested a minimum of $500 million on their venue.

Draw Desire

Sri Lanka is home to an estimated 22 million people with its capital city, Colombo, already playing host to the gambling-friendly Stardust, The Ritz Club, Casino Marina, Continental Club, Bellagio Colombo and Bally’s Casino Colombo establishments. These facilities began appearing in the 1980s as the nation sought to attract tourists who had been scared away by political instability and a bloody five-year civil war.

The administration of President Ranil Wickremesinghe has recently sought to extend this program and helped to pass legislation last summer so as to begin the process of establishing a new regulatory authority and authorizing the licensing of even more land-based casinos. As such, Siyambalapitiya recently revealed ten companies had already put their names forward for one of these new certifications but refused to be drawn on speculation as to the identity of the applicants.

Bountiful Buzz

Siyambalapitiya furthermore eschewed comment on rumors an entity named Golden Island Hospitality Limited had already been issued with one of the fresh operating licenses or whether plans had been put forward to bring a casino to Colombo’s iconic Lotus Tower or to the historic cities of Jaffna and Kandy.

“I clearly said ten applications have been received,” Siyambalapitiya said. “We have to remember casinos have been operating for many years without paying for a license. We are talking about taxes and we are asked not to impose VAT but when a tax is charged from tourists, they we are told not to do this.”

Meet The Author

Alan Campbell
Alan Campbell

Alan Campbell has been reporting on the global gambling industry ever since graduating from university in the late-1990s with degrees in journalism, English and history. Now headquartered in the northern English city of Sheffield, he has written on a plethora of topics, companies, regulatory developments and technological innovations for a large number of traditional and digital publications from around the planet.

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