Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance has announced an increase in the fees for issuing and renewing casino licenses for operators in the country. The government has already received ten applications for casino licenses.
According to Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, the Minister of Finance, existing casinos in the state will be required to pay a fee of US$1.55 million for the first five years of operation, in addition to US$4.66 million for the subsequent 15 years. The renewal fee for these operators will be US$31 million.
For operators who are not currently present in the country, the fees for issuing a license and renewal will both cost US$31 million. These costs will be determined based on the level of investment, with operators who have invested more than US$500 million in new casino projects required to pay $15.5 million for issuing a license and US$31 million for renewal.
The government is also in the process of establishing a regulatory body to oversee the entire casino industry in Sri Lanka. Draft legislation for the proposed regulatory body was submitted in June 2023, with the primary responsibility of supervising the casino industry and ensuring proper payment of taxes.
Currently, there are six operating casinos in the country, including Bally’s, Bellagio, Casino Marina, Stardust, Continental Club, and The Ritz Club. There are also rumors of new casinos being built in Kandy and Jaffna, with Golden Island Hospitality potentially obtaining an operating license. The government has already received ten applications for new casinos, all of which will be required to comply with the new regulations if approved.
Minister Siyambalapitiya commented on the recent developments, emphasizing the need for all operators to adhere to the new regulations. He noted the challenges around tax compliance and the importance of moving forward with reality in the casino industry.