Sri Lanka casino tax only for locals, cricket betting to stop

ECONOMYNEXT – A 50 US dollar per person casino entrance tax will only be charged from locals and not foreigners, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said and cricket betting will be banned.

"The objective is to discourage local persons gambling," Samaraweera told parliament.

He said a gaming regulation process will also be set up.

Gaming regulation was required under requirement of money laundering laws, he said.

He said cricket betting will also be stopped, following a request made by Minister Arjuna Ranatunga.

Ranatunga said earlier in the day that a family company of Thilanga Sumathipala was advertising cricket betting his paper. In Sri Lanka, betting is quasi-legal for horse races conducted outside the country and there are two companies that engage in it.

Banning legal betting, however, tends to worsen criminal activities, economic analysts say.

The entire sport of cricket has been corrupted because betting in illegal in India.

While there is sporadic corruption linked to betting operators in other countries even in other sports like soccer, a vast majority of operators are law abiding and companies operate legally complying with regulations with long histories of operation.

However, in India, the entire cricket betting sector is an underground industry run by a mafia, which has necessarily generated corruption not only in India but outside.

Indian betting rings have started corrupting cricketers in countries like the UK, which had legal cricket betting from the beginning and such corruption was rare or unknown before the illegal industry grew in India.

In addition to outlawing activities, governments and politicians promote criminal activity such as smuggling by slapping unreasonably high import duties. Black markets are created by governments by imposing price controls. (Colombo/Apr05/2019-SB)