Crown’s plans to obtain a casino license in Sri Lanka may have failed.
It’s good news and bad news for James Packer, as the chairman of Crown Resorts Limited got the green light for his Sri Lanka resort, but without any mention of a casino in the written approval. The project is worth $400 million, but the offer is not as appealing without a gambling venue.
Crown partnered up with a local company, hoping this will get them the needed support for a casino license, but for now officials are only interested in the resort. A company spokesman added: “Crown is still in discussions with the government on the gaming side of the project.”
Sri Lanka, a Mecca for Asian players?
According to the latest gambling news, Crown Limited and two other companies have received notifications from the government, saying that their projects will be presented at the parliament. Deputy investment promotion minister, Faizer Mustapha, told reporters that government policy was not to issue any new casino licenses.
According to current Sri Lankan gambling laws, operators asking for a casino license need to follow a different procedure, as there is a separate mechanism for them. However, industry experts have speculated that the reason why Crown partnered up with a local company was to transfer its casino license.
Last year, in November, Packer spoke before the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and tried to convince state officials that Sri Lanka needed a casino resort in order to become “a leading tourist Mecca for the rising middle class of India, China and the rest of Asia.”