Sri Lanka’s murky casino taxes stir controversy

July 19, 2013 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s main opposition has slammed proposed tax breaks for casinos to be operated by James Packer’s Australia based Crown group and said the plans will be opposed in parliament. De Silva said Macao made 43 billion dollars in gaming with a tax close to 40 percent of casino revenues. Macao however does not have corporate tax on casinos.

“Look at Singapore 22 percent tax plus corporate income tax of 17 percnet. Look at Philippines up to 27 percent tax and they introduced in April a 30 percent tax. Las Vegas, a 35 percent tax on casinos.”

Taiwan is planning to start casinos with a 13 percent tax. Sri Lanka has proposed only a 5 percent tax on gaming revenues.

Sri Lanka’s investment promotions ministry published a preliminary notice on tax breaks for Lake Leisure Holdings, where Packer’s Crown group is expected to invest and another project by Colombo-based John Keells Holdings.

The notices appeared to show that different tax regimes will apply to the two projects.

“The regulations issued by gazette providing tax relief are not the same for the two companies,” legislator Harsha de Silva from the opposition United National Party told reporters following a gove