The government of Sri Lanka is looking to shake up its gaming sector by ordering all seven casinos located in Colombo to re-locate to a special casino zone in the Beira Lake area.
The zone, still in Colombo, is being developed to create a casino hub capable of attracting cash-rich tourists to the country. The lake is surrounded by many important businesses in the city.
The seven licensed casinos are currently owned by businessmen Dhammika Perera and Ravi Wijeratne. Mr. Wijeratne is also the local partner for Australian operator Crown whose owner James Packer is looking to build a resort casino in the new gaming zone
Far from bemoan the relocation, Government officials claim local operators are delighted with the idea of a casino hub and as a result are looking to expand their gaming floors.
Investment Promotions Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena revealed the Government has not yet granted any licenses but that the green light had been given for a few ‘mixed development projects.’
The Government is set to finalise Crown’s move into the market at an expected investment of US$350m to build a hotel with 430 rooms.
The minister revealed that Crown would be able to exploit the licence held by its local partner.