The Augmentation of Casino License Costs in Sri Lanka

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The Ministry of Finance of Sri Lanka has issued a declaration regarding the hike in the fees mandated for the procurement and renewal of casino licenses around the nation – a stride in the direction of creating a formal gaming authority.

Finance State Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya announced on Friday that the Sri Lankan governmental cabinet has granted its official sanction to the formation of this regulatory body. The new board will be entrusted with responsibilities concerning the supervision of casino tax collection and the combat against organized crime and the adverse social effects emerging from the industry.

The pronouncement comes hot on the heels of a proposal that was recently pitched to the nation’s President following the unearthings that casino proprietors managed to evade taxes amounting to an approximate $7.4 million – as a result of the lack of a fitting regulatory framework.

In a bid to implement a structured course of action, Siyambalapitiya unveiled a spike in the license fees that is set to take effect from the 1st day of January, 2024 with a multi-tiered cost structure that hinges on the extent of investment.

Existing casino owners will be obligated to tender Rs 500 million (USD $1.55 million) for the first quintet of years and Rs 1.5 billion (USD $4.66 million) for the consequent 15 years combined, accompanied by a renewal fee coming to the total of Rs 10 billion (USD $31.0 million).

For future operators pledging an investment of at least USD $250 million, the ensemble of required license and renewal fees will amount to Rs 10 billion, whilst those pledging a minimum of USD $500 million will be bound to pay an initial license fee of Rs 5 billion and subsequent renewal fees of Rs 10 billion.

The charges for local clientele are as well proposed to witness a surge to USD $200, marking a steep rise from the previous cost of USD $50 with the intention of discouraging local gambling practices.

Siyambalapitiya disclosed that a total of ten applications stand to receive new casino licenses, all of which are in varying stages of evaluation and are yet to secure approval.

At present, Sri Lanka plays host to six authorized casinos: Bally’s, Bellagio, Casino Marina, Stardust, Continental Club, and The Ritz Club.