Sri Lanka re-issues investment approvals on casino resorts

Dec 18, 2013 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has re-issued notices on tax concessions to three casino resorts with no mention of gaming being made, after initial investment approvals were withdrawn under fire. The state has issued gazette notices for Lake Leisure Holdings by Australian gaming tycoon James Packer and local entrepreneur Ravi Wijeratne, Queensbury Leisure by Dhammika Perera, another Sri Lankan businessman and Waterfront Properties by John Keells Holdings.

Wijeratne and Perera operate existing casinos in the country, which have a de facto approval. The existing businesses are expected to be shifted to the new resorts.

The projects are so-called ‘integrated resorts’ with hotels, shopping, dining, entertainment and gaming facilities that have become popular in Asia over the last decade. The projects also involve apartments and commercial space.

Unlike the earlier approval notices which were withdrawn amid criticism from religious leaders and opposition legislators, the new gazettes make no mention of casinos or income tax concessions for profits on gaming revenues.

The gazette notices said a 10 year full corporate income tax holiday and a further 12 to 15 years of concessionary ta