Home » James Packer’s Colombo Casino land in Fort still remains vacant

James Packer’s Colombo Casino land in Fort still remains vacant


By: Staff Writer

January 14, Colombo (LNW): In the wake of the Government’s plans to issue licences for ten casinos, the previously-abandoned casino project by James Packer’s Crown Group, now a hotel development project under a new Japanese company is still a non entity, Urban Development Authority (UDA) sources divulged.

UDA top official said that there had been no progress on the abandoned casino project of James Packer’s Crown Group, although it had not been cancelled.

Australian billionaire Casino mogul James Packer’s Sri Lankan integrated resort Crown Colombo Casino has suffered a setback with the government’s firm stance of not allowing new casinos in the island, informed sources said.

The government is very unlikely to give consent for new casinos to operate at present in the eve of an election amidst growing protests both from constituent parties and the opposition, a top government official disclosed.

Even it will not allow an existing casino operator to shift his business to Packer’s Sri Lankan integrated resort as the matter has become a highly sensitive political issue with criticism emerging from some prominent government ministers as well, he added.

The Australian billionaire has agreed in 2014 to invest US$350 million to build a 36-story skyscraper which will be known as ‘Crown Colombo’ to set up an integrated resort which includes a 400-room hotel with gaming facilities in a land on D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha, Colombo.

But the then ruling party passed the order of the gazette notification in parliament recently granting tax concessions under the strategic investment project act to Packer’s project replacing the word ‘gaming’ with ‘associated ’ facilities.

However James Packer or his Sri Lankan partner Ravi Wijeratne, Chairman of Rank Holdings Private Limited has not made any public statement about their decision on the project.

“The ownership of the project has changed hands to a Japanese company. Their proposal was for a hotel development project.

The development on this project isn’t progressing, likely because the country’s economy is still unstable. However, the investment has not been cancelled.”

A Japanese firm will be taking over a prime block of land at D.R. Wijeyawardene Mawatha in Fort for their Lake House mixed development project previously ear marked for Australian gaming tycoon James Packer’s US$ 400 Crown Colombo project, officials said.

Sri Lanka ’s Asia Capital joined hands with Japanese firm Belluna to invest around US$350-450 million to launch a mixed development project at the 500 perch land opposite Lake House Colombo several years ago.

Recently, State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said that Sri Lanka had received 10 applications to set up casinos under new regulations issued, which were at various stages of evaluation.

According to the official, D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha has been earmarked for hotel-based projects within the city.

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