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Sri Lanka Rolls Out Casino Entry Fee, Gaming Turnover Tax; Raises License Fees

The government of Sri Lanka raises casino license fees, introduces turnover tax and casino entry as part of new budget

Sri Lanka’s operational casinos will have to pay higher annual license fee from this year, the nation’s Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera announced today. The amended fee comes as part of Sri Lanka’s budget for 2019 that was delivered today.

Each licensed casino currently operating in Sri Lanka is required to pay an annual license fee of LKR200 million (approx. $1.1 million). Seeking additional revenue for the nation’s coffers, lawmakers decided to double that fee to LKR400 million (approx. $2.2 million).

In addition to this, licensed casino operators will be obligated to pay an annual 15% tax on gambling turnover. The new tax is set to take effect on April 1.

Minister Samaraweera further said today that the government of Sri Lanka has also decided to introduce an entry fee for people visiting the country’s casinos. Starting June 1, casinos will collect a $50 entry fee per person per visit. Responding to comments regarding the new fee policy, Minister Samaraweera said that Singapore’s two licensed casinos have such a fee and it is higher than the one introduced as part of Sri Lanka’s new budget.

In Singapore, citizens and permanent residents of the city-state are charged a 24-hour entry fee of $100 ($73.7) or an annual entry fee of S$2,000 ($1,475.48).

Anticipated Impact on the Local Casino Industry

While the increased license fee and the new turnover tax are expected to have a particularly negative impact on Sri Lanka’s gambling industry, analysts believe that the entry fee could be the one to hurt the sector the most.

Being required to pay an entry fee will discourage players, particularly Sri Lanka nationals, from gambling at the local casinos, experts said shortly after the announcement about the new levy emerged.

Sri Lanka, a tiny South Asian island nation, has over the years attracted quite some interest among major players in the global casino gambling industry. Back in 2013, Australian gaming and hospitality operator Crown Resorts confirmed that it was in advanced discussions with the government of the country to develop a casino resort in the capital Colombo.

According to media reports, Las Vegas giant Las Vegas Sands was, too, eyeing entry into Sri Lanka after a failed expansion attempt in India. Separate reports linked MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Corp. to Indian gaming group Delta Corp. and suggested that the companies were in talks to form joint ventures for the potential development of casino resorts. Delta operates a casino in Colombo.

Early in 2015, the then newly sworn-in administration of Sri Lanka reportedly canceled three major casino projects that had been given the green light by its predecessor.

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The post Sri Lanka Rolls Out Casino Entry Fee, Gaming Turnover Tax; Raises License Fees appeared first on Casino News Daily.

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