Chandra J writes to Basil, Lakshman on casino regulations
Wednesday, 8 January 2014 00:00
Good governance activist Chandra Jayaratne haswritten to Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena seeking clarification on the application of the provisions of the Casino Business Regulations and Betting and Gaming Levy Act. Following is the text of the letter:
The Daily FT of Friday, 3 January 2014, page 14, presents a pictorial account of the ‘The Gatsby Party’ held on the New Year’s eve at a hotel in Sri Lanka, and carries a picture titled ‘Bally’s Gaming Lounge was a hit,’ implying that a gaming lounge was operated that night at the hotel, presumably by a licensed casino operator.
I would be most grateful, if in the interest of all stakeholders of society, (especially the private sector business operators, private clubs and citizen groups engaged in tourism, entertainment, leisure and gaming activities as well as citizens using such services and investors in such businesses), you will take urgent steps to clarify the following issues in terms of the provisions of the Casino Business (Regulation) Act and Betting & Gaming Levy Act:
Are private sector business operators, private clubs and citizen groups, engaged in tourism, entertainment, leisure and gaming activities free to legally permit and allow business premises, private properties, residences and public places for occasional or regular operation of a gaming lounge by a licensed casino operator?
If the operations referred to in 1 above are legally permitted;
Are there special regulations applicable to such operations which must be complied by the licensed casino operators as well as by any private sector business operators, private clubs and citizen groups?
If there are special regulations, do they define the places, areas and zones of the island Sri Lanka, adjoining islands and the sea and rivers around island, where such operations may be permitted and/r are there any such other special or exempted zones where such activities are freely permitted?
Are the licensed casino operators required to have a special permit, prior registration and compliance with specified regulatory processes and due accounting of revenue from such operations to engage in such activities?
Are the private sector business operators, private clubs and citizen groups allowing and/or inviting the casino operators to operate a gaming lounge temporarily or on a regular basis required to obtain any permit or license on a temporary or permanent basis prior to permitting such activities?
If the operations referred to in 1 above cannot legally be permitted under the presently applicable statutory or regulatory framework;
What penal consequences will apply to the licensed operators and private sector business operators, private clubs and citizen groups allowing their premises to be used for such activities?
What enforcement action is likely in such an event and by whom?
Will you in the interest of all stakeholders of society make public the clarifications sought above?
Kindly note that the above clarifications are sought in public interest and in line with the assurance of good governance and upholding of the rule of law, all of which are paramount commitments of the present government and so outlined in the ‘Mahinda Chinthana’.