Last month, in a series of announcements, the Sri Lankan finance ministry had introduced a $50 levy on all those visiting casinos in the country. However, the finance minister has now said that the levy will only apply to Sri Lankan citizens and not the to the foreigners visiting the country.
Mangala Samaraweera, the finance minister of Sri Lanka, explained that the idea behind introducing a $50 levy was to deter Sri Lankan citizens from visiting the gambling and casino facilities. As such it will not be applicable for foreign visitors.
Last month in a series of announcements the government had also increased the annual casino license fees by 100% from LKR 200 million (US$1.1 million) to LKR400 million (US$2.2 million). On top of the license fee, the casinos would also have to pay an annual tax of 15 percent calculated on the gross revenue generated. The new measures came into effect from 1 April.
The Sri Lankan government is looking to increase its tax revenues from the Casinos while also making it more costly for locals to get into casinos. Earlier last week, in a similar move the Singapore gaming and gambling regulator had increased the levy for locals .
Finance minister Samaveers also indicated at creating a regulatory framework for the gambling and casino industry in the country. He said that the new regulations would have to be in line with the country’s anti-money laundering laws.
It is made clear that soon betting on cricket sports will also be declared illegal. It comes after Arjuna Ranatunga, the former Sri Lankan cricketer and the current Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, requested to ban cricket betting.
Cricket betting has been legal but was not at mainstream venues. However, with the new announcements, it will be illegal to bet on cricket games.