Minister of Investment Promotion, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, told journalists that mixed development projects by Australian billionaire and gaming tycoon James Packer and Sri Lankan gaming Mogul, Dhammika Perera, were still pending and that there was no new information on the matter.
He said that foreign direct investments from the John Keells project was coming into the country, but failed to disclose the quantum of inflow from the project so far.
The government after much criticism by the Opposition and the public decided to exclude casino operations in the three mixed development projects which originally included casinos.
Australian billionaire and gaming tycoon James Packer according to news reports in April this year had informed the Sri Lankan Government that he would abandon the planned US$ 400 million integrated resort project in Colombo, if the operation of casinos was not allowed.
Packer's project as well as two other projects by local blue chip, John Keells Holdings and local gaming mogul Dhammika Perera, came under serious criticism following gazette notifications, which said that the first two projects approved by Cabinet included casinos.
Contradicting President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa's statements, government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella in early May this year said that Packer and Perera would be able to operate casinos in their projects, as a result of restricting casino operations in the country to D. R. Wijewardena Mawatha.
Minister Abeywardena faulted the unachieved FDI target on delays in approving the three controversial projects by Australian Gaming Tycoon James Packer, local blue chip John Keells Holdings and local gaming mogul Dhammika Perera, which received Cabinet nod and the approval of Parliament.