James Packer’s proposed 450-room Crown Sri Lanka resort isn’t getting a casino.
The Sri Lankan government made that clear recently after announcing its intention to not allow any casinos in the three luxury resorts projects, including Crown Sri Lanka, that are being planned in Colombo.
Crown Sri Lanka does have the green light to be built and it’s been granted a pretty saucy 10-year tax break. But protests from all corners of the country, including highly influential Buddhist groups, forced the government to deny additional casino licenses on top of the five the country has already doled out.
However, not all are convinced the jig is truly up, noting the government’s repeated talking point that it wouldn’t issue any ‘new’ casino licenses. The suggestion is that the holders of the existing casino licenses, who have partnered with the three would-be resort casino developers, would close their current casinos and transfer the licenses to the new facilities.
While the (possibly temporary) setback comes as a disappointment for the Australian mogul, it’s highly unlikely that he’s going to throw a hissy fit over this rejection.
The man has bigger fish to fry, including the new City of Dreams Manila in the Philippines and Studio City project in Macau, which are scheduled to open this year and next respectively as part of Packer’s Melco Crown Entertainment joint venture. Packer also has his eyes set on making a run for a casino license in Japan whenever that opens, and then there are the US and Australian casino markets.