The businesses of both Dhammika Perera and Ravi Wijeratne, who held the casino monopoly in the country, will be dissolved with the introduction of new laws facilitating the entry of new businesspersons into the casino industry, it was reported.
The gazette notification in relation to this was issued by President Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Minister of Finance and it also banned anyone below the age of 21 from entering casinos.
According to the information received by ‘Sri Lanka Mirror’, a businessman whose name has been mentioned in the recent past is ready to pay casino taxes and launch a casino.
Under the Casino Business (Regulation) Act No. 17 of 2010, only Dhammika Perera and Ravi Wijeratne have been issued licenses to operate casinos in Sri Lanka.
Since necessary orders for the enforcement of the provisions of the said Act have not been issued so far, no license has been issued under the Act to anyone other than these two businessmen.
Therefore, it was reported that it is difficult to formally collect relevant taxes from the institutions currently engaged in the casino industry.
Accordingly, President Wickremesinghe as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policy has issued an extraordinary gazette on August 31 in order to issue orders under the Casino Business (Regulation) Act No. 17 of 2010 and to introduce suitable amendments to the Betting and Gaming Tax Act No. 40 of 1988 for the purpose of regulating such businesses and collecting taxes due to the Government.
It is an open secret that Mr. Wijeratne is a close friend of President Wickremesinghe and political commentators said a change can be witnessed in Mr. Wickremesinghe’s political journey following his new decision.
Meanwhile, it was also reported that both businessmen provide financial support to a left-wing political party in Sri Lanka.