Sri Lanka’s Cabinet of Ministers approves establishment of Gambling Regulatory Authority

Sri Lanka’s Cabinet of Ministers has given its approval for the establishment of a Gambling Regulatory Authority, which will be responsible for supervising the country’s gambling industry and ensuring the proper collection of tax revenues.

The proposal, previously put forth by Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his role as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization, and National Policies, was approved on Monday, and a draft bill will now be developed to govern all gaming activities.

The government’s objective is not only to guarantee the full collection of taxes but also to implement regulations that combat illegal activities and mitigate the potential harms associated with gambling. The specifics of the draft bill have not been disclosed at this time.

Earlier reports suggested that the regulator would grant licenses with a duration of up to 20 years, while casinos would be subjected to a 40% tax on profits in addition to their annual license fee of Rs 500 million ($1.3 million).

It also remains uncertain whether the government intends to expand the casino industry through the establishment of the Gambling Regulatory Authority, although plans were announced last November to develop a new casino and entertainment area at the Colombo Lotus Tower. Currently, Sri Lanka has five legal casinos, three of which are owned by Dhammika Perera and two by Ravi Wijeratne.

The establishment of the Gaming Regulatory Authority aims to bring standardization and regulation to all operators within the gambling sector, encompassing the imposition of expected tariffs, prevention of gambling-related crimes, and minimizing the negative impact on individuals and society.