Opposition Pressure Pushes Sri Lankan Government to Reject Casino Plans

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The government of Sri Lanka has changed it mind and now won’t allow Jams Packer to operate casinos.

The government of Sri Lanka announced over the weekend that it won’t allow Australian billionaire James Packer to operate casinos in the resorts which he is currently building. Sri Lankan gambling laws allow some small casinos to operate there but further licenses will not be issued.

While Packer is no doubt unhappy about the government decision, it is not yet clear whether it will affect the completion of his three “mega resorts” in which he has invested roughly $1.3 billion.

Government does about-face on casinos

Just a few weeks ago it was expected that Packer would be granted the right to operate casinos. However, pressure from both the opposition United National Party and Buddhist religious leaders led to a recent change in policy.

Gambling is often associated with prostitution and the erosion of religious values in the primarily Buddhist country. Prostitutes often ply their trade around the country’s smaller gambling establishments, leading many to think that Packer’s resort casinos would mean more of the same. The country has become popular with regional tourists, especially as both land-based and online casinos in India are banned.

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