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How China's Investment Is Changing Sri Lanka's Gambling Landscape

Online Gambling

Online gambling is rapidly expanding in today’s society, becoming a significant economic force as the market continually grows. With the advent of digital platforms, online gaming has seen unprecedented global growth, evolving from an age-old pastime into a booming industry. The closure of physical casinos worldwide in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic further fuelled the surge in online casino usage as players sought their favourite games on digital platforms.

This surge in demand has led operators and developers to innovate constantly, introducing technologies like live dealer features and cryptocurrency integration to enhance player experiences. In Sri Lanka, technological advancements and regulatory changes have also contributed to the rapid growth of online casino players. The transformation of the gambling landscape into a digital realm has opened new avenues for players, creating an immersive and convenient gaming experience accessible anytime and anywhere.

Chinese Investment’s Rise in Sri Lanka

China’s expanding economic footprint in Sri Lanka goes beyond infrastructure initiatives and port development. Over the years, Chinese investment has made significant inroads into the country’s gaming sector, shaping a dynamic and evolving landscape. This article delves into the present state, potential opportunities, existing challenges, and the prospective long-term ramifications stemming from this transformative shift.

A new project in in Sri Lanka aims to introduce gambling to the island within the next few weeks, focusing initially on the port city of Colombo, which operates as a special economic zone under Chinese jurisdiction. According to local media, authorities are in the process of drafting regulations to oversee this emerging gaming sector, with plans to present these regulations to the Sri Lankan Parliament in the near future.

The decision represents a major change for Sri Lanka, a country known for its traditional values. The public’s stance on gambling varies, with some anticipating economic advantages through tourism and investment, while others worry about issues like addiction.

As rules are being finalized, the specifics of legalizing gambling remain uncertain. Nevertheless, this initiative is expected to generate discussions across Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lanka Economic Commission will oversee gambling regulations and licensing under a substantial $1.4 billion endeavour led by a Chinese state-owned engineering firm.

The project known as “Sri Lanka’s New Dubai” was initiated in 2014 by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Its vision is to replicate a small-scale version of Singapore. This ambitious undertaking represents the largest foreign direct investment ever made in Sri Lanka. Spearheaded by the state-owned Chinese engineering company China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), the project is valued at $1.4 billion (£1.1 billion) according to reports by Sigma News.

The Colombo Port City is overseen by the Colombo Port City Economic Commission, comprising a Board and a Director General appointed by the President of Sri Lanka. This designated area aims to attract diverse investments, including offshore banking, to stimulate economic growth and activities.

The Economic Commission will oversee sports activities within the Colombo Port City’s jurisdiction and establish regulations for managing such activities where necessary. It will also define the features of gaming venues in the area, set guidelines for conducting gambling activities, and outline the process for obtaining licenses and associated fees.

The Economic Commission has the authority to provide exemptions or incentives under the Betting and Gaming Tax Act No. 40 of 1988 and the Casino Business (Regulation) Act of 17 November 2010.

Currently, Sri Lanka hosts five operational casinos, with four situated in Colombo, the nation’s capital. However, objections from monks and activists arose against the introduction of two new casinos affiliated with foreign operators a few years ago.

In 2019, Sri Lanka raised its annual casino license fee from 200 million to 400 million rupees and implemented a 15% sales tax along with an entry fee for local residents.

History of the Gambling Industry in Sri Lanka


The gaming industry in Sri Lanka has a relatively short history. Casinos were first legalized in 2010, primarily catering to high-end tourists. Initially, Colombo served as a gambling hub, hosting numerous luxury casinos aimed at international visitors. However, with the rise of technology and the increasing popularity of online gambling platforms, the gambling industry quickly expanded across Sri Lanka.

Over the past decade, there has been a notable surge in Chinese investment across multiple sectors in Sri Lanka, with a considerable focus on tourism and hospitality. This heightened investment activity was particularly aimed at catering to Chinese tourists, known for their substantial economic influence and spending capabilities. As part of this investment trend, Chinese companies have strategically ventured into Sri Lanka’s gaming industry, aiming to enhance entertainment offerings for tourists.

However, alongside this growth, there has been a concerning rise in unlicensed casinos and sports betting websites in Sri Lanka. This development underscores the importance of exercising caution and due diligence when selecting online gambling platforms. Engaging with such illicit entities can not only pose security risks but also lead to potential legal consequences. Thus, it is imperative to remain vigilant and informed to safeguard personal and financial security while participating in online gambling activities.

Success of MCW Sri Lanka website

Mega Casino World (MCW) Sri Lanka stands as a premier gaming destination, providing a range of offerings including sports betting, online casino games, slots, and live table games. Established in 2015, MCW has been delivering exceptional online casino experiences to players throughout the Asia Pacific region while operating under strict government regulations and holding a valid license.

Since its launch in 2022, the MCW Sri Lanka website has garnered acclaim among Sri Lankan players for its extensive game selection and professional services. Our dedicated customer service team, available 24/7, ensures prompt and courteous assistance for any inquiries or issues you may encounter.

We prioritize swift and effective responses to enhance your gaming experience, whether addressing deposit and withdrawal matters, game-related queries, or overall gameplay improvements. Our mission is to stand out as the top choice for online casino enthusiasts in Sri Lanka, continually introducing new games and promotions to provide the best rewards and incentives.

For a secure and enjoyable gaming journey in Sri Lanka, we strongly advise engaging only with authorized and reputable websites. This approach guarantees both your safety and the enjoyment of your winnings.