Sri Lanka opposition protest to block Aussie tycoon James Packer's casino plans
Published on Apr 24, 2014 8:47 PM
COLOMBO (REUTERS) - Hundreds of Sri Lankan opposition party members marched in protest in Colombo on Thursday to pressure the government to stop Australian gambling tycoon James Packer from opening casinos in hotel projects planned by his Crown Resorts Ltd.
The protest was held as parliament began debating whether to approve Crown's US$400 million (S$503 million) mixed-development project and two similar projects, altogether worth more than US$1.3 billion.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa's coalition government holds a two-thirds majority in parliament, but its stance on casinos has drawn flak from Buddhist and other religious leaders, opposition parties and even from within its own ranks.
Stung by criticism, the government amended late last year gazette notifications on Crown's three projects and deleted the word "gaming".
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