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Sri Lanka – Colombo Port City to be allowed to open casinos

By - 30 March 2021

The Colombo Port City Economic Commission is to formulate new legislation to allow casinos to be developed in Colombo Port City, a Chinese-controlled special economic zone on reclaimed land in Sri Lanka.

The commission will be looking for ‘the attributes of gaming locations within the Area of Authority of the Colombo Port City, and specifying the manner in which gaming activities are to be carried on or be operated, and the procedure for obtaining a licence and the licence fees, royalties to be paid and any other related matter, as may be necessary.’

Funded by $1.4bn in Chinese money the ‘city’ built on 2.6 square kilometers of reclaimed land has been dubbed ‘Sri Lanka’s new Dubai’ as it will soon have towering skyscrapers built on it.

Sri-Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the development of the port in 2014. It was exchanged to Chinese control three years later following mounting debts owed to China.

The commission has the power to license all ‘businesses, shopping, entertainment including gaming activities and such other facilities, to obtain
possession of commercial residential facilities, in and from the Area of Authority of the Colombo Port City.’
The commission will also “regulate gaming activities within the Area of Authority of the Colombo Port City and where required to make regulations for the management of such activities.

Casinos currently operating in Colombo include Bally’s, Bellagio, Casino Marina Colombo, Star Dust and Jim’s Poker Room.

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