New delays for Packer in Sri Lanka

James Packer's plan to build a $400 million casino resort in Sri Lanka faces further delays after opposition by religious leaders and politicians in Sri Lanka forced the government to alter tax concessions granted to Crown Resort's consortium.

James Packer's plan to build a $400 million casino resort in Sri Lanka faces further delays after opposition by religious leaders and politicians in Sri Lanka forced the government to alter tax concessions granted to Crown Resort's consortium.

The changes will delay the passage of legislation granting tax concessions to the project. The legislation was scheduled to go before Parliament this week.

Sri Lanka's Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said the decision to alter the deal's terms came after opposition politicians said Crown was getting concessions not given to local entrepreneurs. Buddhist leaders also said the casino could be detrimental to Sri Lanka's culture.

The deal has already been delayed once after the government asked Lake Leisure Holdings, the joint venture between Crown and its local partner Rank Entertainment Holdings, to change its construction plans.

The deal has been approved by Sri Lanka's cabinet and is expected to win approval from the Parliament because President Mahinda Rajapaksa's ruling coalition has more than a two-thirds majority.

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