Wednesday, July 24, 2024
HomeNewsSri LankaSri Lanka's high casino tax rate helped bolster state finances: Minister

Sri Lanka’s high casino tax rate helped bolster state finances: Minister

Sri Lanka’s high casino taxation rates have helped bolster state finances and promote a more equitable distribution of resources, the country’s finance minister has stated.

According to local media, State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya alleged that the government has succeeded in adding 60 percent of a casino’s turnover to state revenue under the current regime.

This represents a dramatic increase from the previous system, which only collected income tax from casino operators.

Currently, Sri Lanka is home to six casinos: Bally’s, Bellagio, Casino Marina, Stardust, Continental Club, and The Ritz Club.

Despite a 2010 law that required licensing for casino operations, no licenses had been issued until recently. A new regulatory framework will enforce licensing, with initial licenses being issued for up to 20 years, renewable every five years.

The new measures introduced by the government include a Rs.500 million ($5.9 million) license fee, an annual renewal fee of also Rs.500 million ($5.9 million) , and a 15 percent turnover tax. These stringent taxes are designed to both increase state income and discourage certain business activities, the minister explained.

“By targeting high-income earners and profitable industries such as casinos, the government aims to distribute resources more equitably and fund public services for the broader population,” Siyambalapitiya said during a parliamentary debate on tax amendments related to casinos.

The move comes as the country’s Committee on Public Finance (CoPF) revealed that despite legal prohibitions, online casinos continue to operate openly in Sri Lanka, depriving the government of potential revenue.

The CoPF has directed officials to expedite the implementation of necessary laws to establish a regulatory authority, which is crucial for attracting foreign investors and securing the government’s rightful revenue from the casino business.

The government’s efforts to reform the casino taxation system are part of a broader strategy to raise state revenue and implement fairer tax policies.

Sri Lanka is currently setting up a Gambling Regulatory Authority to oversee the industry. This move is intended to ensure proper tax collection, mitigate criminal activities, and address negative societal impacts associated with gambling.

The estimated revenue from casino taxes is significant, with projections around $7.4 million.

Nelson Moura
Nelson Moura
Editor and reporter with 10 years of experience in Greater China, namely Taiwan and Macau, in printed and online media, with a focus on finance, gaming, politics, crime, business and social issues.



daily newsletter