After initial confusion, the Sri Lankan government clarified that only local visitors to Sri Lankan casinos will have to pay a $50-dollar entrance fee.
Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the measure is in place to prevent locals from gambling, and the country instead wants to focus on tourist dollars. Some countries in the region do not permit their own citizens to enter casinos unless they are employees.
The decision came as part of a wider group of measures from gambling authorities in the country. Sri Lanka also announced licensing fees for casinos would double to $2.2 million and a 15% tax on revenue.
These measures came into effect on April 1.
The country still has some other strict regulations on the book, including a ban on gambling on cricket. Samaraweera stated the government is looking to tighten up regulations in order to keep up with the country’s anti-money laundering laws.
Sri Lanka has been regulating gambling since 2010 in specialized zones designated for legal gambling.