The Prime Minister for Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has reportedly broke with the policies of his predecessor after announcing that his government will not be permitting any new casinos to open in the island nation.
According to a report from the ColomboPage online news service, Wickremesinghe made the revelation while participating in a question-and-answer session as part of the International Enterprise Singapore Global Conversations seminar, which was held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore on Tuesday.
In office since January of 2015, Wickremesinghe was asked whether his government intended to continue a policy begun by previous Prime Minister Disanayaka Jayaratne of attempting to foster a casino industry by providing operators with investment opportunities.
“I respond that no investor will be provided space to begin the casino industry within Sri Lanka,” said Wickremesinghe.
The 67-year-old Prime Minister subsequently additionally declared that his government would not be looking to casinos as a way to help further develop the nation’s economic situation.
The revelations will not come as a surprise to many in the industry after last year saw Wickremesinghe cancel a previously arranged deal with Crown Resorts that would have seen the Australian operator construct a $261 million resort casino outside Colombo in return for receiving ten-year tax breaks that could have been worth up to $750 million.
Industry giant Las Vegas Sands Corporation has also allegedly explored the possibility of opening a casino in Sri Lanka after being rebuffed by India while fellow American casino operators MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Corporation have reportedly been in talks with Indian firm Delta Corporation, which owns a casino in Colombo along with several in its homeland.