All casinos located in Colombo – seven in all – are to be re-located to the special casino zone declared by the Government at the D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha – Beira Lake area.
This special area has been set up to attract high-spending tourists to the country, offering various entertainment options.
Colombo has seven licensed casinos currently operated by businessmen Dhammika Perera and Ravi Wijeratne, all of which are compelled to move to the new location under new guidelines for the operation of casinos.
Mr. Wijeratne is the local parter for Australian gaming moghul James Packer’s upmarket casino opening in the new location.
Government officials said several local gaming operators are also looking at harnessing the benefits from the new legislation by expanding their casino empires.
Even though there is much opposition against the new gaming laws, the country’s top policy makers are of the view that if Sri Lanka is to attract high end tourism, a lively entertainment industry targeting tourists should be promoted.
Investment Promotions Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told that will soon finalise Mr. Packer’s Crown group proposal for a joint venture mixed development in Sri Lanka with an investment of US$350 million to build a luxury hotel with 430 rooms, he revealed.
It will get tax benefits and other concessions under the strategic investment project, he added.