|Plans to tax casinos again
The PA failed to implement the proposal despite twice proposing amendments to the Betting and the Gaming Levy Act.
Finance Minister K. N. Choksy presenting the UNP led UNF governments first budget on Friday said that an annual levy of Rs 12 million to be paid up-front in four quarterly instalments at the beginning of each quarter will be imposed from April 1 this year. Each casino will be regarded as a separate entity for this purpose.
Choksy also said that an annual Rs 500,000 to be paid up-front in four quarterly instalments at the commencement of each quarter by betting centre. This levy will be reduced to Rs 10,000 per annum if such operator establish that live telecast facilities are not provided. This levy too will be applicable effective April 1.
"Those who default on such payments will be prevented from operating [their business]," the finance minister said while adding that the "expected revenue from these two measures this year is Rs 200 million."
Choksy went on record as saying that although the levy payable under the Betting and the Gaming Levy Act No 40 of 1988 was revised upward, the collection of the levy has been disappointing due to legal and administrative problems.
The PA first proposed to restrict casinos to five star hotels with capacity to allocate special floors for gambling. The Ceylon Tourist Board was to be in charge of the implementation. The then government hoped to raise at least Rs 450 million by levying Rs 5 million each from casinos. It failed to take into consideration that there were less than 30 casinos at that time. Even if all casinos were taxed the total would not have neared the target.
In 2001, the PA proposed to raise levies on betting and gambling. The PA hoped to raise Rs 500 million - Rs 50 million more than under their 1996 proposal.
But, like the 1996 proposal, the one made in 2001 too was never implemented.
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