Arab Today, arab today sri lanka bets on highend casinos to boost economy
Last Updated : GMT 02:24:13
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Sri Lanka bets on high-end casinos to boost economy

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Sri Lanka bets on high-end casinos to boost economy

Colombo - AFP

Multi-million-dollar casinos planned for Colombo have boosted Sri Lanka\'s ambitious hopes of becoming Asia\'s new gambling hotspot, but the projects still face political and religious opposition. Sri Lanka legalised gambling in November 2010, with the aim of eventually luring cashed-up tourists to the island nation and boosting an economy battered by decades of ethnic war. The government granted approval to Sri Lanka\'s John Keells group last week, for a $850-million \"mixed development\", a euphemism for an entertainment hub that includes gambling. The green light was also given last month to the local partner of Australian billionaire and gaming tycoon James Packer, for a similar deal to build a $350 million lakeside resort in the heart of Colombo. Both investments have been given a generous 10-year tax holiday. \"Big names coming to Sri Lanka for mixed developments is a huge boost to the (tourism) industry,\" said Chandra Mohotti, chairman of the state-run Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management. John Keells, the island\'s biggest diversified group with interests in hotels, has not announced details but industry officials say it will include a casino with a yet-to-be named foreign partner. Packer\'s Crown Group and John Keells are betting on Sri Lanka\'s post-war economic growth and rising tourist numbers. Government officials have stressed that both projects, expected to start before the end of this year, will create thousands of jobs and attract high rollers. But the main opposition party has baulked at the projects, not on moral grounds, but because of the generous tax breaks gifted to developers. \"What we are saying is that if the country is to benefit, they must be taxed and regulated,\" United National Party (UNP) lawmaker Harsha de Silva said. \"We will not jump up and down saying we oppose casinos.\" The UNP is pushing for a sin-tax on casino developments in line with the heavy duties slapped on the alcohol and tobacco industries. Investment promotion minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena defended the government\'s efforts to encourage \"mixed-developments\" including with the 10-year tax holiday. \"If we don\'t offer generous tax incentives, these investors will go to some other country,\" Yapa said last week. Small, low-key casinos have been tolerated in conservative mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka even before gambling was legalised in 2010, by exploiting various legal loopholes. The government has been trying to placate the island\'s influential monks by saying all future big-name casinos will be built in one designated zone in Colombo, and open only to foreigners. Buddhist monk Athuraliye Rathana, a lawmaker and senior leader of the National Heritage party, warned the government that these and other details set out in the 2010 gambling legislation must be strictly followed. \"We oppose gambling, but it is not practical to eradicate it completely. The government must enforce the Gambling Act (of 2010) and limit casinos to designated areas rather than give them a free run,\" he told AFP. \"The government has at least said there will be a separate area for gambling. So let us see how they implement it,\" another Buddhist monk, Galagodaatte Gnanasara, secretary of the radical Bodu Bala Sena (BBS, or Buddhist Force) said. The government is still thrashing out details of a regulatory framework for casinos, three years after legalising gambling. A senior minister told parliament at the time that Sri Lanka hoped to replicate Singapore\'s success in attracting high rollers to a well-regulated industry. Mohotti said luring Crown and other brands was key to further developing tourism, which is enjoying steady growth after hitting rock bottom during the war between 1972 and 2009. \"Four top brands -- Le Meridien, Marriott, InterContinental and Oberoi -- left Sri Lanka during the war,\" added Mohotti, who is also a senior vice president of Sri Lanka\'s 149-year-old Galle Face Hotel. Tourism income is set to rise from 1.0 percent of gross domestic product to 5.0 percent in the next three years, according to government forecasts, on the back of a continuing hike in visitor numbers. The government has set a target of doubling annual visitor numbers to 2.5 million by 2016, including by encouraging different forms of tourism. Sri Lanka attracted a record one million visitors in 2012 with between 1.2 and 1.3 million expected this year, the government says. Big-name casinos in Sri Lanka could tap a huge pool of potential punters from neighbouring India, where most forms of gambling are banned, according to a recent analysis from the daily FT financial newspaper. \"Sri Lanka emerging as a gaming centre could draw more tourists from India and the Middle East,\" the report said. However, independent economic analyst Channa Amaratunga said it was difficult to forecast the financial gains given the lack of transparency in the government\'s gaming plans so far. \"In the alcohol and tobacco industries, we have a good idea of how much is produced, what the sales are and more importantly what the profits are, but not in gaming,\" Amaratunga said.

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today sri lanka bets on highend casinos to boost economy Arab Today, arab today sri lanka bets on highend casinos to boost economy

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Prepares to present her new collection

GMT 14:29 2017 Monday ,20 February

Prepares to present her new collection
Arab Today, arab today Tourism shows signs of recovery

GMT 09:59 2017 Monday ,20 February

Tourism shows signs of recovery
Arab Today, arab today Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"

GMT 19:45 2017 Monday ,20 February

Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"
Arab Today, arab today Optimism on the front line

GMT 07:24 2017 Monday ,20 February

Optimism on the front line
Arab Today, arab today Murder of 2 reporters in Dominican Republic

GMT 22:45 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Murder of 2 reporters in Dominican Republic

GMT 09:38 2017 Monday ,20 February

Japan returns to trade deficit in January

GMT 07:16 2017 Monday ,20 February

Global arms trade highest since Cold War

GMT 06:10 2017 Monday ,20 February

Tourism shows signs of recovery in Egypt

GMT 05:45 2017 Monday ,20 February

Brexit U-turn ruled out by many in EU

GMT 16:23 2017 Sunday ,19 February

Global energy news

GMT 16:05 2017 Sunday ,19 February

Trudeau calls for wider social benefit from economy
View News in Arabic - Business: نفط وبتروكيماويات
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Kidogo provides childcare for underserved

GMT 20:24 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Kidogo provides childcare for underserved
Arab Today, arab today Tragic fluctuations of Bakhtiari's life revealed

GMT 06:50 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Tragic fluctuations of Bakhtiari's life revealed
Arab Today, arab today London to tax old cars

GMT 14:06 2017 Friday ,17 February

London to tax old cars
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today Nissan enhances sales in most markets

GMT 14:08 2017 Monday ,20 February

Nissan enhances sales in most markets
Arab Today, arab today Competes Sweden and Germans by S90

GMT 22:36 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Competes Sweden and Germans by S90
Arab Today, arab today Egypt to hold first session of Arab film festival

GMT 21:11 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Egypt to hold first session of Arab film festival
Arab Today, arab today Teach monkeys to recognize themselves in mirror

GMT 20:41 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Teach monkeys to recognize themselves in mirror

GMT 07:30 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Actress Nadeen Al Rassi views art as her entity

GMT 06:40 2017 Friday ,10 February

MP calls for removing text from Islamic story

GMT 19:10 2017 Friday ,17 February

Hats, scarves add beauty to women

GMT 10:26 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

Emergency UN meeting in Harare

GMT 23:29 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Home built on sand castles-style costs $8m

GMT 21:49 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Scientists develop new therapy

GMT 19:16 2017 Friday ,17 February

Aziz House ready to host the tourists

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 12:39 2017 Monday ,20 February

newest smartphone another winner for Huawei

GMT 13:16 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

First fashion model with Down syndrome
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday