25 September, 2020

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The Casino Conundrum; No To Unlicensed And Tax Free Casinos In Sri Lanka

By Harsha de Silva

Dr Harsha de Silva MP

Dr Harsha de Silva MP

Forbes says Packer has got Cabinet approval for his Crown casino in Colombo

Forbes Asia reported on 29 January 2014 that Australia’s casino king James Packer had claimed he just won approval from the Sri Lankan government to build a five-star casino resort in Colombo. Sydney Morning Herald had also reported a few days earlier on 23 January that Packer received government approval to build a resort in Sri Lanka but without explicit approval for a casino. It said that Crown was in discussions with the government on the ‘gaming side’ of the project.

What the Cabinet approved on 20 January 2014

What Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana sought approval from his Cabinet colleagues and obtained was large-scale tax breaks for James Packer’s Crown project along with two other projects.  I will only discuss the Crown project for the moment to keep the focus narrow. The Minister identified the project published in the extraordinary gazette on 17 December 2013 as an “integrated super luxury tourist resort facility which includes high end shopping malls and high quality residences and office spaces and service spaces with associated facilities”.

How is it different from the previous Cabinet approval?

The first major difference of the project with what was published previously in the gazette of 23 September 2013 and subsequently approved by the Cabinet is the disappearance of the two words ‘gaming activities’. This is what the previous gazette said “an integrated resort with meeting and convention facilities, gaming activities, fine dining restaurants and other associated facilities”. The other is the disappearance of the section on Betting and Gaming Levy that applies to ‘gaming activity’. So at face value the new approval is for a resort without a casino; unless of course this is an attempt to mislead the public.

Tax breaks given to Packer’s invisible casino?

As per the usual practice for strategic investment projects Packer has been offered a complete tax waiver for the first 10 years and partial waiver for the next 12 years along with a host of other concessions. Providing tax breaks for large investors has been accepted practice and up to now no major opposition has been brought on any such incentives. Even in this case, the issue is not on tax breaks for the ‘super luxury resort’ but for a possible casino hidden under ‘service spaces with associated facilities’.

Seriously, will Packer build a resort without a casino?

The simple answer is No. Packer is a casino mogul. All his new investments are now in casinos after he rationalized the media businesses his father built. He tells Fortune that he has four large casino investments taking shape over the next few years; in Colombo, Manila and Macau. It is in this background what the Sydney newspaper story becomes important; that he is in discussions with the government on the ‘gaming side’ of the project. If there is no ‘gaming activity’ in the resort what kind of discussion could Mr Packer have with the minister he famously bent in two in veneration on the ‘gaming side’? This whole thing is now beginning to smell bad.

Who’s got licenses to operate casinos in Sri Lanka?

No one has a license to operate a casino in Sri Lanka.  No one includes James Packer and his local partner Ravi Wijeratne, who a few months ago was famously referred to as “almost family to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his powerful brothers” by the Sydney Morning Herald. Giving an interview to the Sunday Times on 19 January 2014 Mr Wijeratne says about his venture with Mr Packer “I am going to run a hotel and a gaming club.” How is he so certain that he will run a gaming club or a casino? Is he going by the government position frequently regurgitated by the minister that ‘existing licenses’ can be switched from one location to another; in this case from his Stardust Casino or the Marina to the Crown? Precisely he is. In an interview with the Daily Mirror on 15 December 2013 he declares “After opening the hotel (referring to the Crown) I would use one of my casino licenses for it,” and adds “There is no restriction to use my present license to run a casino in my hotel (Crown)”. Now this whole matter is getting interesting.

But, there are many casinos in Colombo

There are many casinos in Colombo. Besides Mr Wijeratne, the other big-time casino operator in the city is Dhammika Perera, who is also the secretary to the ministry of transport. The two of them run several mid-sized casinos. Mr Wijeratne’s Stardust and Marina and Mr Perera’s Ballys, MGM and Bellagio are the more popular ones. They are even advertised in the on-board magazine of SriLankan Airlines. They encourage excessive spending by referring to such expenditure as ‘investments’. I was surprised to read in one of the casino websites that they have ATM machines inside for the ease of making such investments! They also promote ‘entertainers from overseas’; perhaps the assortment of Southeast Asian and Eastern European women seen outside these establishments after dark could be the overflow from inside the casinos. However Mr Wijeratne says in his recent Daily Mirror interview that “casinos and prostitution are far apart and have no relationship whatsoever”.

So how do these casinos operate, or rather, how did they operate?

If entering, playing or escaping from a ‘common gaming place’ defined as any place where public may have access with or without payment to participate in a game of chance with an instrument or appliance is punishable by fine or imprisonment or both, how do these casinos operate. A common loophole I presume was the argument that they were restricted to ‘members only’. It is in this background the imposition of a levy first came to being on betting and gaming in 1988. The Betting and Gaming Levy Act noted that a levy shall be charged for the year commencing on April 1, 1988, and in respect of every year thereafter, on every person who carries on the business of betting and gaming in Sri Lanka, whether lawfully or unlawfully. The levy for gaming was originally fixed at Rs 1 million per year. However it is important to note that the Act was very clear that the imposition of the levy did not confer any legal status to the business of a ‘common gaming place’.  It said “Nothing in the preceding provisions of this section shall be construed as conferring legality on any business referred to in this section if such business is prohibited by law.”

So over the years ‘members only’ gaming centers and jackpot machines operated by paying the levy except for the sudden reversal of policy when President Ranasinghe Premadasa banished the then infamous Joe Sim from the island and bulldozed all his jackpot machines. The annual levy of Rs 1 million set in 1988 was increased twenty-five fold in 2001 to Rs 25 million but perhaps due to fall in total tax revenue collected the levy was reduced to Rs 12 million in 2002 before being increased again to Rs 50 million in 2005 and finally to Rs 100 million in 2013 keeping with both inflation and sophistication of the gaming business, which by now had openly become glitzy casinos. In fact today membership at casinos is nothing but a farce. One website boasted, “Membership is in name only anyone can sign-in and play”. The website of Marina Colombo says “We offer free membership to foreigners and to some distinguished Sri Lankans,” reiterating the earlier statement and giving the lie to the story that casinos are restricted only to foreigners.

The Casino Business (Regulation) Act of 2010

It is in this background that Parliament of Sri Lanka on 7 December 2010 adopted a new piece of legislation to prohibit the business of a casino without a valid license starting from 1 January 2012. The opening paragraph, subsection (1), stated “No person shall, from and after January 1, 2012 engage in the business of a casino other than under the authority of a valid license issued in that behalf by the minister and within a specific area to be designated by the Minister by Order published in the gazette.” It added “Any person who carries on the business of a casino in contravention of the provisions of subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction after summary trial be liable to be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall extend to five years or to a fine of rupees five million or to both such fine and imprisonment.” The Act clearly stated that any license issued shall be subject to terms and conditions and regulations.

It’s clear. All casinos are illegal as at 1 January 2012 unless licensed.

The question now is how many such casino licenses have been issued during the ‘grace period’ between 7 December 2010 and 1 January 2012? The answer is ‘none’. Then the question is how many casino licenses had been issued even after 1 January 2012? The answer is again ‘none’. If according to the law “no person shall, from and after January 1, 2012 engage in the business of a casino other than under the authority of a valid license” then Mr Wijeratne’s as well as Mr Perera’s casinos are illegal. It follows that they are “guilty of an offence and shall on conviction after summary trial be liable to be punished.” In fact, not only that no licenses have been issued; no regulations have been made, no terms and conditions have been specified, no rules on how to make an application have been declared and no procedure to be followed in application and approval of a license has been identified by the Minister in charge of the subject of casinos, whoever that may be. Therefore it seems fair to believe that casinos currently operating are doing so based purely on the political patronage of their owners.

A cruel joke: 5 percent tax on GGR after removing 12 percent VAT and 2 percent NBT

Given the surge in opposition to the establishment of ‘illegal and tax free casinos’ the government decided to hurriedly amend the Betting and Gaming Levy Act instead of issuing licenses under the Casino Business (Regulation) Act. The 2013 amendment introduced a tax of 5 percent on gross collections at casinos known as GGR or Gross Gaming Revenue in the industry jargon. GGR is what the House makes after collections from gamblers less incentives to attract those gamblers minus winnings paid out by the House. What is unbelievable is that this 5 percent tax was imposed after waiving the otherwise 12 percent VAT and 2 percent NBT on these casinos. This is nothing but a cruel joke on the people.

How does it compare with others?

Consider for a moment the legitimacy of this 5 percent tax of GGR with other territories. In Macau, the casino capital of the world where last year’s GGR was USD 45 billion, the tax on GGR is 39 percent. In Singapore the tax on GGR (including GST) on mass customers is 22 percent plus regular corporate tax on profit. In the Philippines the tax on mass GGR is 27 percent plus corporate tax on profit. Even in Mr Packer’s own Australia tax on GGR is 29 percent besides corporate taxes and license fees; his recent license for the second casino in Sydney cost him 100 million Australian Dollars.

Back to James Packer’s casino license

Notwithstanding all the smoke and mirrors to confuse the public the fallacy in the declaration that Mr Packer could set up a casino at the Crown resort in Colombo by transferring free-of-charge Mr Wijeratne’s ‘invisible’ license can easily be established by the intelligent reader by now. The fact of the matter is no licenses exist to be transferred.

License is not a registration

A license is not a single-line registration with the Inland Revenue Department to pay the Betting and Gaming Levy. A license must have terms and conditions. Who can apply to operate a casino in Sri Lanka? What are the fit-and-proper conditions of potential casino operators? How will licenses be allocated? How long will the license be valid? What are the license conditions? What actions could be taken in case of license conditions being violated? How can a license be cancelled? How can a license be renewed? These are some basics in a license. Beyond the basics there are numerous other terms and conditions that deal with number of tables and machines, advertising, credit to gamblers, junket restrictions, rights of entry, police powers and who can be excluded from a casino etc. Besides, there are a whole series of other accounting and internal control conditions that deal with statements to be maintained, access to bank accounts, submission of records and stringent regulatory rules which include 24×7 camera-monitoring by regulatory staff and joint signatory on accounts with regulator etc. In fact the Australian regulations under which Mr Packer has obtained licenses to operate his casinos are over 100 pages long.

The Australian regulators are on the watch out for money laundering and bribery

It is well known around the world that Sri Lanka faces governance challenges. The fact that there is no rule of law, that institutions have become totally politicized, that politicians are by and large corrupt, that there is no independent judiciary and there is widespread white-collar-crime in the financial markets are serious issues that need to be overcome given the nature of the casino business.  This is particularly so given casinos currently operating in Sri Lanka are not subject to any Anti-Money-Laundering controls and there are no mechanisms for monitoring and compliance. In fact the Victorian Regulator recently indicated that it was watching Crown’s expansion closely in to countries with public sector governance challenges and specifically mentioned that it was monitoring Crown’s investments in Sri Lanka. It also warned of potential non-compliance with Australian and international laws against money laundering and bribery.

The desperate and despicable lie

It is in this background that the government is attempting to spread the story that the casino, even if setup in the Crown resort, will be a marginal activity among the large hotel, shopping and dining etc. It is attempting to downplay the significance of a casino in the so-called super luxury resort. In fact this is a total fabrication. According to the Review of the Casino Operator and License of the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation dated June 2013 the average proportion of the casino revenue for 2010 and 2011 of the Crown Perth ‘Resort’ was 77 percent, Crown Melbourne ‘Resort’ was 80 percent, Marina Bay Sands ‘Resort’ Singapore was 83 percent and Sands Macau ‘Resort’ was 87 percent. To say Crown Colombo will be anything less, and only marginal, is a desperate and a despicable lie. Crowns biggest business by far is the casino.

Either legalize casinos or shut them down; the choice is with the government

It should now be is clear to the reader the current situation with regard to casinos in Sri Lanka. Perhaps the government could argue that given regulations have not been enacted to apply the provisions of the Casino Business (Regulations) Act of 2010 the existing casinos could unlawfully operate indefinitely without a license. Perhaps the biased court could even agree with that argument just like it has on many other occasions in the recent past. But that is certainly not good governance. It is certainly not democratic rule. It is nothing but letting a couple of acolytes and their political masters become billionaires by completely disregarding the law of the land at the expense of the millions of innocent citizens who are sucked dry with regressive taxes to make up for the losses to the treasury. We will continue to oppose all such illegal casinos as well as any moves by James Packer or anyone else to setup similar casinos in Sri Lanka. But, on the other hand, the government can always issue licenses to existing operators and to Packer and anyone else they wish and bring them under an acceptable tax regime as indicated earlier; that is their prerogative. How the President is going to extricate himself from the promise given the religious dignitaries and the people of Sri Lanka that he will never issue any (new) casino licenses is his problem.

*Harsha de Silva, Ph.D, Member of Parliament 

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Latest comments

  • 13
    1

    Where is the Balu Sena (BBS) to protest Lanka becoming the “Casino of Asia” – the latest Rajapaksa Modal for ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT?

    Fighting windmills as usual – attacking churches and mosques and minorities?!

    • 8
      1

      BBS has resounded that their rise is to protect the nation.

      But today – they stay dead silent, are like clay eaten crocodiles (kirimati gilapu kimbulo wage innawa).

      JHU ´s UDAYA G has been on his begging mode to make the nation feel that their party would address any issues that are against the people. So what make them stay BLIND anD DEAF today ?

      What is the stand of Wimal Buruwanse in terms of KUDU AND CASINO ?

      • 3
        0

        Thanks for trying, but sorry to say Harsha, Chandra Jayaratne, JVP and TI have done a far batter job exposing the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime’s corruption and money politics, than has the UNP which as offical opposition should.
        UNP these past year has been busy in-fighting and has no time to challenge the corrupt and criminal Rajapaksa brothers and sons and their military and sports business empires, and those of their corrupt cronies such as Mithipala Sirisena who is bribed by Pharma Corporations NOT to pass the National Drugs Bill, and all who have their funds stashed in secret bank accounts in SINGAPORE.
        Switzerland and Swiss Banks are now drawing up ways to repatriate funds of Asian and African dictators to the countries they have looted. The same should apply to Singapore where Gota the Goon, Duminda Silva and Dim Jayaratne’s son and the other drug lords have their bank accounts..

    • 2
      9

      Another godaya afraid of Casinos after listening to lies of Harsha and JVP. Wear your ambude and stay in Mahiyanganaya, we want Colombo to attract wealthy tourists and Casinos are one way to do it. Singapore proved that. Luckily for Singapore they may not have had godayas like you there.

      • 4
        0

        You are the gate keeper to the five star brothel??

      • 2
        4

        I too agree with XXX. I also just can’t understand why our people are so jealous with Casino. Actually in my opinion our Deshapremeeya’s are not jealous with Casino or Packer, they are jealous with our King as he is the one who found the new method to develop the country by opening Casino’s and giving unlimited tax concessions and other facilities. Godaya’s like Dr. Harsha De Silva or UNP leaders didn’t have brains to introduce such brilliant Ideas when they were running the Country. So it is understandable about these Godaya’s jealousy with our King.

        Our King has given equal chance to all Amuda Godaya’s and other citizens in the country to participate in developing our economy by helping Casino. All Deshapremiya’s and Amuda Godaya’s can send their Jobless young Daughters to work in Casino’s while their young Son’s can join the Ranaviru forces.

        Now every Godaya’s having a equal chance to get a Degree from S.B’s Degree Shop and go for Casino in the evening and Visit Geena Madam’s spot when they feel so. “Kohomada ape Aadambarakaara Thathage Tikiri Mole”

        • 1
          0

          Rich Indians, whom these Casinos are targetted at, will come gamble and then leave. What money they spend will go to Packer, Packer’s Lankan partner,Rajapaksas and their close friends.

          I suppose the average lankan will get a few crumbs thrown their way but how many jobs do you think a Packer Casino is going to provide; it’s not a manufacturing or high employment service industry like IT services.

          • 1
            0

            @Palmsquirrell
            “I suppose the average lankan will get a few crumbs thrown their way but how many jobs do you think a Packer Casino is going to provide”

            Very Simple,
            After opening Casino’s in Sri Lanka all the young Beautiful Daughters of Amuda Godayas will have jobs because when Casino Players get tired after playing Casino they prefer to sleep with very young Girls. with the Increase of Casino Players there will be a huge demand for Amuda Godayas Beautiful Daughters and finally King will legalize oldest profession as “Helping Casino”

            We don’t have to worry about our Amuda Godaya’s young Sons as there will be plenty of space in our Ranaviru forces as there will be many “Rathupaswalla’s” in the future. Also there will be plenty of “Polu Hamuda” and separate “White Van Brigades” for each and every Minister.

            I hope at least now you can understand how the Job opportunities will increase with King’s Casino Projects.

          • 1
            1

            You are clueless as always. This is the 21 century, you don’t worry about and control the money inflows or outflows anymore. If someone comes forward to invest and if it is legal you allow to invest.

            This is like saying Singapore Casinos only provide a few crumbs to the average Singaporean and all money goes back to the american Casino operators. Have a look how Tourism in Singapore took off in 2010, the year the first Casino was opened.

            Since you seem to be ignorant, Crown project will provided 2500 direct jobs and John keells project would provided over 3500. Have you provided even a single job rather than spew fear mongering lies here in hope that Crown project would not go ahead.

            Eelamists hell bent on seeing that Crown project does not go ahead is a good enough reason to go ahead with this project.

          • 0
            0

            “Rich Indians, whom these Casinos are targetted at,”

            Rich Indians have and still do go to Kathmandu Oberoi perhaps they would change according to times.

  • 7
    2

    Harsha de Silva, why have you and the UNP collectively NOT yet filed a case in the COURTS against the Casinos which you claim are illegal and hold Basil Jarapassa – Mr 10 percent, Dhammika Perera and his casino cronies ACCOUNTABLE?
    Harsha, You keep screaming about Casinos but do nothing else.. time to put you money where your mouth is!’
    Also, please check Mr. Jayaratne’s letter on the status of the proposed Land Reclamation Project at Galle Face.. You need to be talking about ALL the ECONOMIC CORRUPTION of Mahinda Rajapakse with his Chinese financiers. Please don’t be a single issue Man – see the big picture and present it with a proper analysis to the people and the COURTS..

    • 5
      1

      Dinuk, This man intentionally hiding the fact that UNP regime gave five licenses for casinos during Premadasa era. And the people who owns those licenses openly said that we have it. And they engage in casino business up to date without any hindrance. As you said he can go to court and file a case against it.

      The only thing I understood from this conversation is that the five casino license holders in SL doing that business for the last 20 years or so, without giving much publicity while Packer is going to do it in big way. And suddenly Harsha woke up from the slumber and began to scream that government going to give casino license to Packer.

      And on the other hand he thinks by screaming that government giving Packer a casino license, he can change this regime. What a idiot. Because of these kind of idiots, UNP going bad to worse day by day.

    • 5
      0

      You may also discourage Packer by informing him, his company, his government, etc etc., that if and when a change of government happens in Sri Lanka, ALL casinos will be shut down by the State. Tell them that there will be NO compensation.

      • 0
        3

        Very keen to see the Crown project get stalled don’t you? Another reason to go ahead with the project. Hope the government would have some backbone here.

    • 4
      0

      Dinuk,

      Do you think any matter that threatens the government in any way can be redressed through the court system? The answer is pure and simple – NO.

      • 3
        0

        That is the truth , which is why there needs to be international intervention to depose the Rajapaksa regime.

      • 0
        0

        So, the UNP and Harsha has ALREADY CONCEDED DEFEAT to Jarapassa in the courts and every where else?
        IN that case, Harsh should be honest, resign and stop wasting tax payers funds and getting a salary for going to Parliament of morons and clowns and the UNP should be OFFICIALLY dissolved. Harsha’s and UNP’s job is t Educate the Sinhalaya Modayas on what good economic governance, rule of law and DEMOCRACY is. If they think this struggle is already lost they should stay at home..
        Today UNP is unofficially dissolved and full of lazy jokers who do a half-baked job and have no real interest in the country – politics is a job and money-making racket for the UNP MPs and SLFP alike.. and Sri Lanka’s POLITICAL CULTURE IS THE PITS!

    • 0
      0

      Harsha has talked about as many corrupt deals both inside parliament and out side. His fiery speech in parliament is on U-Tube and a fine speech it was. Don’t go acting like goat asking why he wont file a case when you know the answer. Our courts are a joke. The moment a UNP member files a case Mr Jarapakshe will be dictating what the judgement will be. He is well known to directly interfere with the courts. So either accept the reality or keep living in a fools paradise. Harsha and the UNP have very limited options wasting time and money on a court case is ill advised.

  • 8
    0

    Thanks Harsha. But really the only thing you seem to talk about where ever you go is Pakers’ Casinos..
    We need a larger critic of the Jarapassa development model of turning Sri Lanka into the Casino, car racing and DRUGS HUB of Asia.
    The James Packer Casino is like the so-called Chinese “development” projects that have been WHITE ELEPHANTS which place a huge DEBT burden on the country and the Sri Lanka tax payer who pays for the Chinese LOAN funds, most of which go into the pockets of Rajapaksa brothers, sons and cronies given lack of transparency.
    The Hambantota Port and Airport whose loan repayments and maintenance is astronomical are HUGE WIHTE ELEPHANTS. And of course there is the always breakdown Noroccholai Coal Power Plant. We understand that building a Fomula 1 Race track is the reason for the rush to reclaim land from the sea – so that Rajapaksa sons can race their lambubughinis… Is this a national development priority? There is plenty of empty land in and around Colombo for urban expansion so why is there need for reclaiming land from the sea, with potential of massive environmental damage to other parts of the coast line, built environment and wildlife – most of the land which will be gifted to dubious Chinese companies and the rest of the land shared by the Rajapaksa family military dictatorship, junta and cronies? What kind of BARBARIC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT MODEL is this? Environmental groups are concerned with environmental impact assessments since other parts of the coast of Sri Lanka will be VULNERABLE to erosion when new land is accumulated at one point.

  • 8
    2

    Dr. Harsha Silva@,

    You are one of the great politicians that the country has produced in today´s srilanka.

    Your arguments are always constructive. Right thinking ones in this county would support you in this struggle even if the buggers in power would allow those Casino businessmen to promote them further.

    What we expect is ICs to put more pressure on ths current regime and excellerate the removal of INCUMBENT and create a dramatic change in the country. HOPE UNHRC SESSIONS WOULD SEE IT AT LEAST THIS TIME.

    • 1
      8

      Look at this peanut brained traitor. Waiting for foreigners to arrive and do a regime change. How is it going on in Iraq and Libya after your saviors did the regime changes there?

      • 3
        0

        Iraq is better off than under Saddam because now the Kurds and Shia are not being institutionally oppressed by Saddam and his Sunni thugs.
        Libya is under Libyan control. All nations undergo internal turmoil to varrying degrees when a dictator is deposed, yet dictators need deposing because otherwise there is no hope for liberty.

        • 0
          0

          Who says that Iraq is better off now? Iraqis or USA/UK and their slaves?

          • 0
            0

            “Who says”

            If you read the news, you will know the Shia and Kurds have control over their own affairs, so Iraq is better off now.

  • 4
    0

    I fully commend this article by you, Dr de Silva, completely cogent and totally credible.
    To anyone who seem to think that Dr de Silva only speaks about one issue I wish to say this: Its called specialization. He sticks to the subject he knows best, has done a lot of work on and is aware of all the relevant facts of the issue. That is how it has to be. Unfortunately Sri Lankans seem to like the sort of people who know next to nothing about anything but would like to voice their worthless opinion on everything!

    • 3
      0

      Before Economics became a number crunching ‘DISMAL SCIENCE’, it was broader, and called POLITICAL ECONOMY.
      There are some very bright people who study political economy, but clearly Harsha is more limited in his scope. Still, he is trying, and one hopes that Harsha will not stop LEANING and would make a wider contribution as time goes by…

      Right now, the JVP has a far better analysis and critic of the economic situation of the country than does the UNP. And Harsha is one of the people supposed to be analysing and educating the UNp party and the country on the subject of ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, so he needs to work harder… and look at the issue of DEVELOPMENT as a social and political matter as well. The Casino problem is one huge SOCIAL problem since it promotes a gambling culture and whole families, women and children in the country are being impoverished today in less high profile gambling DENS..

  • 6
    0

    Thanks for informing us Harsha. We were all hoodwinked to think that this casino business is essential for the development of tourism in Sri Lanka. It’s disgusting how some of these educated fools are supportive of this casino menace. One so called expert was boasting that Casino businesses are taxed at 0% in the far east. Little did I know that there was something called Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR). Keep fighting this corrupt government.

  • 2
    6

    UNP is not only the stooge but also the appendage of the Cameron , Harper and US Govts.

    Western Goverments have opened Casinos in every major city of their lands.

    US has given more licences to their Natives to go with their Native Titles as a special gesture in kindness and generosity .

    And perhaps to say sorry for bad deeds inflicted on them in the past.

    UNP not only gave licences ,but introduced Casinos to our Sinhala Buddhist inhabitants

    Perhaps Dr Harsha’s elders haven’t brought him up to speed on their Casino policy of the yesteryear.

    Wonder whether Ranil has a hidden agenda to stop young Packer and offer these licences to financiers of the Cameron . Harper , Obama trio to open Casinos in a future TNA territory ..

    If Cameron could speak Sinhala, he would have called Tony Abbot “paraya dog” during his chats with the Vellalas at the recent Cocktail party in Kurunduwatta.

    • 3
      0

      ” Western Goverments have opened Casinos in every major city of their lands”

      Not true for the US. Only a select few places and some Native American reservations have them.

  • 3
    0

    The UNP do speak across broad economic issues. YOu can see this by going to youtube and searching for Harsha De Silva http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=harsha%20de%20silva&sm=3 or Eran Wickramaratne’s Vimeo channel http://vimeo.com/user3815088

    The problem is that the electorate have no interest in these issues. The people want their shiny new roads, shopping malls that they can’t afford to shop at and are distracted by the “foreign LTTE conspiracies” against Sri Lanka. Until they starve, they won’t listen to good economic sense.

  • 5
    1

    This is truly an exceptional piece – it is clear and succinct. The facts are well presented and only the relevant details are presented without the rambling that is common with politicians. This is the only time that all casinos are being exposed and the government for its duplicity.

    It is a pity that he is never visibly supported by his superiors nor his colleagues within the party – jealousy is rampant within the UNP.

  • 2
    3

    banning casinos or unbanning Tamils. Which is more important?

    • 1
      0

      They want to ban casinos because the sihala now have casene underware.
      Don’t go close you may end up with scabies- that is how the Silva’s, Perera’s of Portugal got Brazil in the first place.

  • 0
    3

    We thought UNP is a pro open economics liberal party!

    After loosing nationalist votes for undermining national security UNP is fast loosing pro open economic, right leaning votes because of Harsha’s hypocritical opposition to Casinos and opposition to colombo beautification efforts.

    • 3
      0

      I would be embrassed if my solution to a better economy rested on casinos, especially when Packer gets 10 years tax free and a further 10 at very favourable rates.

      SLFP has wasted tens of millions on White elephants , so it is hardly the party to boast about economic solutions.

      • 0
        0

        Only harsha/jvp/jobless-monks say that Casinos are promoted as a solution to the economy when in reality any moron should understand that casinos are just one part of the entertainment industry and no government targets one industry or one part of an industry as a solution to the economy.

        The question is when a world renowned casino operator forwards a proposal to establish an international level casino why should we decline? I mean enemies of the country who does not want to see us advance or politicians trying to score one or two votes I can understand. But why should responsible citizens oppose the Crown project? Crown has two big casinos in Australia, why not Sri Lanka? Is this Saudi Arabia?

        and it is such a shame that UNP is trying to be more socialist than SLFP when Sri Lanka is slowly freeing herself from the curse of leftist/marxist mentality. Really it should have been Ranil who is steering Sri Lanka away from Marxism not Mahinda.

        • 0
          0

          If the Lankan tax payer benefitted from Packer’s Casino, the benefits can be argued but Packer is getting 10 years tax free and a further 10 at very favourable rates. So who is really benefitting here; just Packer and a tiny handfull of upper eschelon Lankans.

          I suppose there will 100-200 jobs created by the Packer hotel/casino complex but then any large hotel complex will create similar levels of employment, yet for the amount of money coming in to Packer’s establishment , the Lankan tax payer isn’t going to be seeing a significant share of it (for the near future).

          • 0
            0

            You are so clueless about what goes around in Sri Lanka as always. First Crown project will provided 2500 direct jobs. and the nature of the tourism/entertainment industry is more indirect jobs get created overtime than direct jobs.

            Also Sri Lanka provide tax reliefs to any foreign investment over $250 million. This project also receives the same benefits.

            We can argue that whether we should provide tax breaks to Casinos or not. That is a valid debate. But most around here just don’t want to see the Crown project go ahead, either because there are been duped by fear mongers or they simply hate to Sri Lanka progress in anyway. Crown is a world respected entertainment brand. Australians are not ashamed that there are Crown casinos in their cities, and we shouldn’t either.

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    The BBS is all shout and thuggery against the Minority religions and people. You can now see that it is fully supported by the V.V.I.P. clan for their purposes. I would like to see whether they will support Sobitha Thero or take him to the cleaners if he comes forward for the presidency.

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