James Packer’s Crown abandons US$400mn Sri Lanka casino project
COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – James Packer’s Crown group has dropped plans to build a 400 million US dollar casino hotel in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo after a new administration scrapped tax concessions, a media report said.
"Crown Resorts respects the decision and on that basis the project would not be going ahead," a spokesman for the Australia based group sad.
Packer, Sri Lanka’s John Keells and Vallibel groups have been trying to build three integrated resort with casinos in Colombo but there was a public outcry over the plan.
John Keells Holdings said it would "engage" with the government but the project had revenue streams other than gaming.
The Rajapaksa administration also lowered casino taxes below that of food, fuelling popular opposition to casinos.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe said the cabinet of ministers had decided to withdraw tax concessions given to casinos and no casinos would be permitted inside the resorts.
Concessions to hotels, shopping complexes with the projects would stand he said.
The administration also slapped a billion rupee tax on existing casinos in the island saying it will raise 5.0 billion rupees.