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Sri Lanka opposition to stop JKH, Packer casinos

Dec 19, 2014 12:56 PM GMT+0530 | 5 Comment(s)

MANIFESTO  Sri Lankan opposition presidential candidate, former health minister Maithripala Sirisena, holds up his manifesto at a rally.

EconomyNext - Sri Lanka's opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena has threatened to cancel two 'casino licences' given to John Keells Holdings and Australian casino king James Packer.

"I will not allow the two casino licences given to 'Water Front' and 'Lake Leisure' projects contrary to certain decisions of Parliament and the Cabinet of Ministers and despite the opposition of the Chief Prelates of all three Buddhist Sects," Sirisena said in his election manifesto released Friday.

A study will be made of tax concessions given to projects under the government's Strategic Development Projects Act, it said.

Projects under the Strategic Development Projects Act get a range of tax holidays and other benefits.

The casinos are part of two big high-rise property development projects JKH and Packer plan that include hotels, apartments, offices and malls.

JKH has already started work on its 'Water Front' property project while land has been set aside in Colombo's business district for Packer's project. 

No mention was made in the manifesto of a third project by transport secretary and entrepreneur Dhammika Perera, which was also given sweeping tax breaks.

JKH is widely expected to rent space to a gaming operator. Packer's local partner, and Perera's group have de facto licenses which are used to run casinos in Colombo. No regulations have been brought to issue formal licenses to casinos.

Update II



  1. Investor December 22, 12:54 PM

    The issue is not really about whether to have a casino or not - it is about whether such sweeping tax concessions should be given to casinos. Other countries that promote casinos ensure that they are compensated by way of substantial tax revenues - it is unheard of to find concessions being given to attract casinos.

  2. Neranja T December 19, 07:41 AM

    Maithripaala get out of the jungle and start living in the 21st century, all the countries that you have been to and you have NOT been to, don't they have casino's? USA,Canada,UK,Germany,France,Denmark,Netherland, AUstralia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore,Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Spain to name few where the law and order, human rights and democracy are the highest countries and where low corruption, low crime rate includes low manslaughter/murder rate, low sexual assaults, low drug trafficking, are these country's and they all have casinos all over their country, so what does casinos got to do with all what you have said? your story doesn't add up, and it is utter rubbish to knowledgeable people but to the villagers who has never stepped out of the country think what you saying about banning casinos is for the better of the country. I think no man or woman with solid brain going to vote for you.

  3. Malan December 19, 07:40 AM

    Poor Sirisena, Again he has been mis judged the economic realities and mis-led by the gang around him. These are just populist slogans and do not fall in line with the ground reality. This reflects the serious lack of experience of Sirisena in managing important economic matters like this.

  4. Gambler December 19, 03:34 AM

    I do not think by highlighting "negative" agendas like this would win any votes for MS. In fact what he should have said was to re-evaluate and amend concessions given to projects under strategic act. Whether to have a casino or not is upto the investor. No one can deny that there are no casinos in this country and it is extremely un-ethical to prevent issuing new licenses for those who want to get into casino business. Strategic development act is totally a non-essential thing and by having such acts only help discrimination, nepotism, and also corruption. Condemning selective projects is also not right.

  5. My 3 December 19, 01:38 AM

    Why only JKH and Packer? Why are they ignoring the other parties involved? Worth clarifying...

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