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43 percent increase records in the betting and gaming levy in 1Q 2023

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka tax department says that a 43 percent increase was recorded in the betting and gaming levy during the first quarter of the year, In total, the country brought in some Rs1.27 billion ($3.96 million) in gaming taxes during the period.

The nation’s Ministry of Finance notified at the end of last year that it had been tasked to submit an action plan to set up a casino regulatory authority, aimed at ensuring casino operators pay their fair share of tax. The country has also agreed to issue new casino licenses.

The new casino regulatory body would go in line with a 2010 law that provides ‘the necessary legal provisions for the casino business [but] is not sufficient for regulatory activities including revenue recovery’.

No timeline has yet been given on the submission of the action plan for creating the watchdog. Sri Lanka has dozens of operating casinos, the most opulent of which are placed in the capital of Colombo

A revenue of more than Rs. 200 million has been earned so far from the fees charged from locals who patronized casinos from April this year, State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said today.

He told Parliament that a fee of USD 50 is charged from locals who enter casinos from April 01 this year.

Speaking during the debate on the Betting and Gaming Levy (Amendment) Bill, the Minister said 9,081 persons had entered casinos during the four months of February, March, April and May and 5,381 of them are foreigners while 3,656 are locals.

“In 2015 it was proposed to charge a fee of USD 100 from locals who enter casinos. But no fee had been charged for the last eight years until April this year. We have submitted an action plan to the Committee on Public Finance to increase the fee to USD 200 through a three-year period,” he said.

The Minister said the fee charged on entry of locals to casinos was to discourage locals from entering casinos.

In light of diminished revenue collection and a surge in foreign exchange irregularities, the Sri Lankan government will be instituting new laws pursuant to the Casino Business Act of 2010 and revising the Betting and Gaming Levy Act of 1988 to better oversee the country’s casino industry.

According to Finance Ministry sources the move will enable the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) to implement new casino taxes and distribute new licenses “without any administrative and legal issues.”

According to State Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, the annual taxes imposed on casinos have been increased by 150% to Rs. 500 million ($1.3 million) from Rs. 200 million ($549,117).

In addition, a 40 % tax on the profit of casinos will also be introduced following the streamlining of the IRD administrative procedure.

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