The island nation of Sri Lanka has approved a plan for a Chinese-run economic zone with casinos that might remind some of Macau.
The zone will be in the 642-acre Colombo Port City, which some are calling a “New Dubai.” It is reclaimed land that Chinese investors financed to the cost of $1.4 billion.
The project was jointly promoted by Sri-Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and China’s President Xi Jinping in 2014. Three years later, due to rising debts owed to China, Sri Lanka gave a 100-year lease to the Chinese company.
The gaming regulations, however, will be written and regulated by a Columbo Port City commission, appointed by the president of Sri Lanka.
Although the commission will write regulations designed to benefit gaming in the zone, casinos are discouraged in the rest of the country. Most of the country’s casinos are located in Colombo and are noted for having names of famous gaming brands, with no connection to the real things.