The government is expected to give the green light to house casino operations in the upcoming Cinnamon Life mixed development project as the new administration is keen on doing everything at their disposal to attract a new segment of tourists as well as to invite significant investments into the country’s condominium market.
According to sources close to the discussions, this remains very much a possibility after the much-expected new legislations applicable to the Colombo Port City project is made law during the first quarter of 2021.
Analysts and economists Mirror Business talked to believe the new legislations could restart a fresh round of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Sri Lanka.
John Keells Holdings in early November said the residential apartments and the office tower of the Cinnamon Life project is expected to be handed over to occupants on a staggered basis from the fourth quarter of 2020/21.
Mixed development projects with casino operations were a sticky issue in Sri Lanka as an earlier attempt by the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration ended in chaos creating much uproar across political and religious spectrums.
The then government was forced to capitulate to the pressure and was compelled only to give sweeping tax incentives for mixed development projects sans casino operations.
In 2014, Sri Lanka lost at least two such mega investments due to not having the government’s blessings for casinos in them.
While Sri Lanka has on average received a billion dollars a year as FDIs, in 2020 it could muster about US$ 350 million up to June due to investment flows being rattled by
Sri Lanka has revised down its FDI target to US$ 750 million in 2020.
With all eyes on revival of tourism and expectations for fresh FDIs in 2021, analyst and economists remain confident that the worst for Sri Lankan economy is largely behind.