John Amaratunga (UNP), representative from Gampaha District, is Sri Lanka’s newly appointed Minister for Tourism and Christian Religious Affairs. Amaratunga announced that he will not permit the establishment of new casinos in Sri Lanka and that he considers regulations to prevent locals from entering already existing casinos, after religious leader criticised gambling as affecting the society’s morality in a negative way.
Mainly guests from India are attracted by Sri Lanka’s casinos, because casinos are not permitted in India and gambling is heavily restricted except for lotteries and horse racing. Until 2014, Indians nationals were the largest group of foreigners of different nations visiting Sri Lanka. Enjoying the beaches such as Bentota and the cool climate of Nuwara Eliya are the main reasons for Indians to spend their holidays in Sri Lanka. Another attraction Sri Lanka has to offer for Hindus in particular are the island’s sites visited by Lord Rama and other heroes of the famous Ramayana epic. Nevertheless, other Indians - and other Asiens, too - turned out to be attracted by Colombo’s casinos during their stays in Sri Lanka. So these already existing casinos are not a completely irrelevant factor in Sri Lanka’s choice of touristic products.
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