A challenger for the presidency of Sri Lanka has promised in his manifesto to cancel a casino licence – reportedly given to Australia’s Crown Resorts Ltd – if he wins the January 8 vote, said Reuters news agency.
GGRAsia has approached Crown Resorts for a comment on the report.
The presidential candidate – Maithripala Sirisena (pictured) – is running against Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is seeking a third term as Sri Lanka’s head of state.
On October 24, Mr Rajapaksa proposed that in the country’s 2015 budget there should be a US$100 entrance fee for customers using the country’s casinos and that the gaming levy should be 10 percent of turnover.
Currently there is a tax of 5 percent on local casinos’ gross earnings. In 2013 the government charged a levy of LKR100 million (US$764,234) on casino operators.
Early in October, Mr Packer told his shareholders that Crown Resorts was negotiating with potential joint venture partners in Sri Lanka and the government there, to enter that market.
The Sri Lankan media has previously reported that in 2013 Crown Resorts was awarded a local licence to build a US$400 million mixed-use resort including a casino.
Mr Rajapaksa has enjoyed strong popularity among the Sinhalese majority community in Sri Lanka after ending the Indian Ocean island nation’s 26-year civil war against Tamil separatists. He is still seen as the election frontrunner, but in recent years has faced public discontent at high prices, allegations of corruption and nepotism.
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