Prostitution, that was believed to be the big reason why government officials refused three super-luxury resorts to build casinos on their properties in Sri Lanka. The island south of India, with over 20 million people, is predominantly Buddhist and gambling will remain banned for the foreseeable future.
Investors including Australian mogul James Packer, owner of Crown Casino in Melbourne and City of Dreams in Macau, are in the midst of developing three mega-resorts in Colombo worth $1.3 billion, but it’s now clear that these won’t have a casino floor.
The Australian reports that the Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapakse said, "We will not allow casinos. That we say very clearly. They (the promoters) asked, we did not allow, nor will we allow (in the future)."
While a direct reason has not been given for not allowing casinos to be built it’s rumored to be because of the threat of prostitution blossoming. Strangely enough casinos have been legalized in Sri Lanka in December 2010, but this legislation has not been implemented.
Since the war between the government and the Tamil Tigers ended in 2009 tourism has slowly but surely grown and this trend is expected to continue. While casinos were going to be a huge draw for international tourists it now remains to be seen if the foreign investors are continuing their push to build three mega resorts.