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Sri Lanka to legalize gambling to boost tourism

Sri Lanka to legalize gambling to boost tourism

Sri Lanka passed a law Wednesday allowing the establishment of gambling zones housing casinos to boost its tourism industry _ a major shift from the conservative country's prohibition of organized betting.
Allowing casinos will be a shot in the arm for the island-nation's tourism sector that has suffered from 25 years of civil war, Deputy Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama said.
"Through this bill, the government intends to set up special zones for gaming in areas not close to temples, schools and highly populated areas," Amunugama said.
The law allowing gambling received 114 votes in favor and 33 against in Parliament.
Dayasiri Jayadekara, a lawmaker for main the opposition United National Party, said the promotion of gambling will destroy the country's traditional values.
Sri Lanka is a predominantly Buddhist nation in South Asia and presents itself as a conservative society. The government bans alcohol consumption in public places, and censors kissing and alcohol-consumption scenes on television.
Amunugama said the government hopes to increase tourist figures to 1 million per year from the current 700,000.


Updated : 2021-10-21 04:44 GMT+08:00