Sri Lanka parliament rejects anti gambling amendment

    The Sri Lankan government has rejected efforts by a prominent lawmaker to include a clause in the Strategic Development Projects Act that specifically prohibits the operation of casinos and gaming activities, according to local media reports.
    The amendment was sought by United National Party (UNP) MP Karu Jayasuriya and seconded by his colleague Dr. Harsha de Silva.
    “Parliament shall not approve any project which will include the operation of casinos and other gaming activities by whatever name or description, or the leasing out of the space for such activities,” it said.
    Plans for multi-million dollar integrated resorts, including one from James Packer’s Crown Resorts, appear to be in limbo amidst continuing regulatory uncertainty.
    Reuters reported a senior government official as saying in May that the plans could proceed as long as the investors work with existing casino license holders. His comments came a month after the government passed a key bill on integrated resorts that made no specific mention of new casinos.
    The official, Keheliya Rambukwella, said casinos will be restricted to D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha, the area where Crown has planned the hotel and anybody can operate casinos in that area if they have a license held by a local partner.