In March this year, the Sri Lankan government imposed a casino tax with a view to increase the tax revenue. They imposed a $50 entry fee for customers who wish to enter their casinos. It had also introduced a 15% levy on the entire casino’s turnover.
The Finance Minister of the country Mangala Samaraweera recently clarified that the above fees will only apply to the country’s nationals. International visitors would not be required to pay the levy in order to be admitted to the nation’s casinos.
Sri Lankan lawmakers also presented a plan for a drastic increase in the annual licensing fees the casino operators are bound to pay. The government decided to straight up double the existing fee of LKR 200 million to LKR 400 million.
In addition to this, casino owners will also be required to pay a 15% tax on their full-year gambling turnover. The new tax took effect on 1st April 2019. The official purpose for these measures were also provided by the FM. Samaraweera said that this was done to prevent problem gambling.
The minister also said that the government is preparing a framework to regulate gambling in the country, something India has had a lot of opportunities to implement but didn’t yet. Recently Shashi Tharoor introduced a sports betting regulation bill, which is a first step in our country.
Sri Lankan gamblers particularly are given to betting on cricket and horse races. The legislator revealed last week that cricket betting would also be banned on the territory of the island nation. The ban is the idea of Arjuna Ranatunga, former Sri Lankan cricket captain and the country’s current Transports and Civil Aviation Minister.
Sri Lanka is a potential gambling hotspot. Many worldwide casino operators have expressed their interest in opening business in the island country. Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Corp. were some of them who were mentioned by local media for having a keen eye for investment in the country.
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