Australian Gambling – James Packer’s bid to open a luxury casino resort in Sri lanka faces a new set of challenges, following threats from the country’s president that new gaming taxes will be introduced should he win the next federal election in January, 2015.
Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan President, yesterday announced new levies in his latest budget. The levies include a $100 entrance fee for every patron, plus a 10 per cent gaming levy on three proposed casino resorts across the nation.
Rajapaksa, who is campaigning for a record third six-year term in office, had been a positive facilitator for the proposed resorts up until this point, despite a fierce public outcry against the casinos.
Six months ago, as part of its plan to drastically boost its tourist numbers, the Sri Lankan government gave approval for three major resorts to be built, each costing upwards of $200 million – one of the three being the Crown resort at a price tag of $400 million.
This latest announcement is a blow for Packer, who has been actively campaigning to add a high rollers’ casino to this project since early in 2013.