June 14, 2013 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s gaming taxes could be made to be on par with the rest of the world, investment promotions minister Lakshman Abeywardena said amid queries why gaming levies are being brought down. He said casinos were now located haphazardly in Colombo and some were near schools and in a recent budget a clear policy had been laid out that they will be brought to a single location.
“So in the future there will be a designated zone by the gazette,” Abeywardena told reporters. “So when we do that we, as mentioned, we can compare the other countries in the rest of the world and impose a high tax.”
“The government will take steps to do that. It should not be the same, it should be higher.”
Abeywardena was responding to queries why a gaming tax was being brought down to 5.0 percent and value added tax was lifted through an amendment to the betting and gaming laws, when other countries had rates that were much higher.
“No, that can be changed,” he said.
The issue of building casinos has run into a political storm, with Australian magnate James Packer building a luxury hotel with a local partner.
Opposition United National Party legislator Harsha de Silva has slammed the r