The Genting Group’s expansion tour continues and the latest destination on the Malaysian gambling giant’s radar is Sri Lanka.
The company’s interest in Sri Lanka isn’t really new; it’s actually been sniffing around the country ever since its government passed a bill in 2010 to regulate its gambling industry. But the plan was put on hold because Genting focused its attention on other destinations. Fast forward to today and its looks like the company is gearing up towards securing a casino venture in the South Asian country.
While it’s not specifically clear when Genting renewed its interest in the country, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that it happened when the Sri Lankan government approved the development of three integrated resorts last year, including one that will be built and developed by Australian casino mogul James Packer’s Crown Ltd.
Securing a casino license is out of the question because government policy explicitly prevents that course from being taken. Instead, Genting could take the road of tag-teaming with a local partner, specifically one that has casino approvals. That was the strategy Crown took when it teamed up with local casino operator Ravi Wijeratne, who has two casino approvals in Sri Lanka. But Wijeratne isn’t the only one with casino approvals in Sri Lanka. According to Reuters, fellow Sri Lankan entreprenuer Dhammika Perera has three casino approvals to his name on top of the small-scale casinos he already runs in the country.
That’s a possible option for Genting and it makes sense considering that Perera has been hot on the market for an international gaming company (like Genting) to secure one of his casino approvals. Should the company push through with its plans to enter the Sri Lankan gaming market, it will further strengthen its expansion plans to be more of a global player in the industry. Even if it lost out on Macau, it already has a presence in Singapore, the Philippines, the UK, and the US, including its first integrated resort and casino in Las Vegas, which is on track to be completed in the next few years. It’s also in the hunt for licenses in South Korea and Japan, although the fate of those situations won’t be determined any time soon.
Setting shop in Sri Lanka would not only further diversify its client base, but it also opens up the country to another potentially lucrative market with strict gaming laws of its own: India.
It’s an investment that’s certainly worth looking into if Genting wants to live up to its promise of expanding its brand.