NEW CASINOS ON THE CARDS?

Published : 8:50 am  November 12, 2015 | No comments so far |  |  (270) reads | 

Untitled-5BY SANDUN A JAYASEKERA

Casinos were necessary for tourism and they should be set up in special zones, Tourism and Christian Religious Affairs Deputy Minister Arundika Fernando said yesterday.

However, the government’s declared policy is the refusal to give permits to set up new casinos. Addressing the media at the SLFP head office, Mr. Fernando said casinos must be permitted if Sri Lanka were to attract high spending high end tourists but new casinos had to be set up away from schools, places of religious importance and the public. “If we were to permit setting up of new casinos, it must be restricted only to foreign tourists and foreign currency. No locals must be permitted to play casinos in local gambling spots. If we are to attract high spending tourists to Sri Lanka, we must provide them what they want.

Right now, there are 29,000 starclassrooms and 8,500 informallyavailable rooms islandwide butby next year a minimum of 6,000  morestar-class rooms are needed

Otherwise, they will bypass Sri Lanka to travel to Maldives or East Asia,” he said. Asked whether the government had identified any locations away from schools and places of religious importance to set up casinos, Deputy Minister Fernando said islands like Kalpitiya were ideal for casinos and added in the US, world famous and highly popular casinos are set up in Las Vegas in the Nevada Desert, away from busy cities in California. “Do not draw a red line to ban casinos totally in Sri Lanka.

Even in Colombo, there is no problem if casinos are run without affecting the public life,” he stressed. Fernando said tourism had a huge potential in Sri Lanka and play a major role in the economic progress and the signs were extremely encouraging. The tourism sector has shown a steady progress since the end of the war.