Sri Lanka casino resort tax breaks firmed

Sept 13, 2013 (LBO) – Tax breaks for two casino resorts including one by Australia’s Crown group have been firmed with the cabinet of ministers giving the nod for tax breaks previously announced for large investments. Sri Lanka is pushing a casino strategy to draw high spending tourists, which can fill city five star hotel rooms and push room rates closer to 400 US dollars from the current 150 dollar levels.

Sources with some knowledge of the strategy say Sri Lanka is likely to limit gaming to only three large casinos, with one of the existing ‘licenses’ tipped to go to John Keells Holdings.

Australia’s Crown group and Sri Lanka’s Rank Holdings is building a 350 million US dollar ‘integrated resort’, a euphemism for casino hotels.

John Keells Holdings, a Sri Lanka based group has initiated a larger project involving up to 850 million US dollars which also involves a casino.

Information minister Keheliya Rambukwelle said tax breaks for only for infrastructure involving hotels and other facilities and gaming revenues will be taxed.

Opposition legislator Harsha de Silva has slammed the current regime for reducing taxes on gaming revenues for about 5.0 percent of the gross take which is probably