A successful nod has been given to James Packer’s Sri Lanka bid after the government have officially noted their approval of the project. It looks as though it will be full steam ahead now for the Australian mogul, with a four hundred room luxury hotel planned to go along with a casino at a prime lake front location. Packer will be investing $350 million (in US figures) into the venue, and will also be receiving generous tax concessions for his efforts.
Keheliya Rambukwella, the spokesman for the government, has also added that the cabinet has granted a partial ten year tax concession for two projects, or in other words the hotel and the casino, which will come under different regulations. The exact scope of the concessions has not been revealed, but getting a prime tourist location as well as tax relief will be a great way to help Packer combat the popularity of online casino games – after all, with a casino on this kind of scale there is really no substitute for the experience and the atmosphere.
What we do know is that after the first ten years runs out, there will be a further concession for the next twelve years, as the casino would only be charged six per cent tax during that time. This implies that the first ten years will be even lower, which is a fantastic deal for the billionaire businessman. Other inclusions are exemptions from customs duty, from the construction industry guarantee levy, from the port and airport development levy, from VAT, from pay as you earn tax for foreign employees, from tax on foreign loan interest, and from tax on dividends for the first eleven years. There are also implications that they will be paying half of what would be expected from other businesses for the next fifteen years.
These rates are incredible, especially when it is considered that casinos in Macau are charged forty per cent tax by the government there – and there are no shortage of casino operators lining up to get a license at that number.