The main opposition United National Party (UNP) claims the government is promoting casinos on a grand scale.
UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya said that casinos are being promoted despite objections by the Mahanayakes, other religious dignitaries as well as civil organizations.
“The government says that licenses have not been given to anyone to open casinos. Gamblers of the stature of James Packer are investing to develop the tourism industry and to build large hotel complexes, but they fail to reveal that these hotels are being built for casinos,” he said.
Jayasuriya noted that it will be difficult to curb the spread of large scale prostitution and alcoholism when casinos operate around the country.
“We are hurt and scared when we observe the massive social destruction taking place in the county. Already there are foreign prostitutes operating in the country. Illegal liquor shops and brothels are on the increase. Under the present environment Sri Lanka is fast becoming a paradise of drunkards, gamblers and prostitutes, he said.
He went on to note that initially it was said by the government that no licenses will be issued to start casinos. But an extra ordinary gazette notification issued in terms of the structural Development Projects Act of 14 – 2008 shows how tax relief is given for investments on casinos. (Colombo Gazette)