The Cabinet greenlighted a proposal to streamline the country’s casino industry in order to recover tax dues owed by casino operators and to bring in legislative amendments to give effect to proposed tax increases.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilisation and National Policies on Monday sought the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers to issue orders under the Casino Business (Regulation) Act No. 17 of 2010 with the intention of regularising such industries and recovering levies due for the government, and to take measures to introduce appropriate amendments to the Betting and Gamin Levy Act No. 40 of 1988. Under provisions imposed by the Casino Business (Regulation)
Act No. 17 of 2010 and the Betting and Gaming Levy Act No. 40 of 1988 to regularise the Casino industry in Sri Lanka, licenses should have been issued to operators to continue casino operations. However, the Department of Government Information noted that no such licenses were issued under the Act, which has made it difficult for authorities to collect imposed taxes from the operators. According to PublicFinance.lk, the four casino operators owed Rs.2.67 billion in taxes to the Inland Revenue Department as of 2021.
The government has also proposed to increase the annual levy imposed on gaming businesses to Rs.500 million from current Rs.200 million and to increase the annual levy on the betting industry in the range of Rs.25, 000 to Rs. 1 million.
With these proposals, the annual levy on gross collection point would be increased to 15 percent from 10 percent on both gaming and betting industries. In order to implement these tax proposals, the Betting and Gaming Levy Act No. 40 of 1988 is to be amended.