A State land in front of Lake House, currently being used as a car park, is earmarked as a major gaming zone and a hotel complex, to be built by Packer's multinational casino empire, Crown Casino, well-placed government sources said. Work on this complex is slated to commence early next year.
Packer was in the island last month to hold preliminary discussions with the government. His casino empire is already well-established in Australia, the US and the UK.
Earlier, Minister of Investment Promotion, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene, said the government had proposed that Packer invests in a large city hotel in Colombo and explore investment possibilities in the Eastern port city of Trincomalee.
"They have not finalized the area and the amount they are going to invest. The government has asked them to come up with a proposal," Yapa added.
Treasury Secretary, P.B. Jayasundera, said Packer had expressed an interest in 'integrated tourism,' which typically includes hotels, casinos and other entertainment.
Hong Kong tycoon Joe Sim, an early arrival of casino industry in Sri Lanka, was deported from the island in the early 90s after he fell out of favour with then President, Ranasinghe Premadasa.