Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance has announced plans to increase the costs of issuing and renewing casino licenses for all operators in the country. The government has received ten casino applications thus far.
According to the Minister of Finance, Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, the increased fees will require all existing casinos to pay a fee of US$1.55 million for the first five years of operation, as well as an additional US$4.66 million for the subsequent 15 years. The renewal fee for these operators will be US$31 million.
For operators not yet present in the country, the fees for issuing and renewing a license will cost US$31 million. Additionally, the fees will be determined based on the amount of investment. Operators who have invested more than US$500 million in new casino projects will be required to pay $15.5 million for issuing a license, and US$31 million for license renewal.
The government is also working on establishing a regulatory body to oversee the entire casino industry in Sri Lanka. The proposed regulatory body would be responsible for supervising the casino industry on the island and ensuring proper payment of all taxes.
Currently, six casinos are operating in the country, including Bally’s, Bellagio, Casino Marina, Stardust, Continental Club, and The Ritz Club. There are rumors of new casinos being built in Kandy and Jaffna, and it is likely that Golden Island Hospitality will obtain an operating license. The government has received ten applications for new casinos, and if approved, all of them will be required to comply with the new regulations.
In response to the recent developments, Minister Siyambalapitiya commented on the situation, expressing concerns about taxes and urging a realistic approach to the issues at hand.
Overall, the government’s decision to increase casino license fees has significant implications for operators in the country, as well as for potential new entrants into the market.