Crown Scraps Plans for $400 Million Sri Lanka Resort

Crown Resorts Ltd., the Australian casino company controlled by billionaire James Packer, said it won’t proceed with a planned $400 million development in Sri Lanka after a government ruling on gaming projects.

Sri Lanka won’t allow casinos in planned mixed developments in Colombo, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told the nation’s parliament Jan. 29 as the government detailed measures in an interim budget.

Melbourne-based Crown had proposed to construct a five-star resort with about 450 hotel rooms and suites, gaming areas and restaurants at Beira Lake in the center of Colombo, according to a 2013 regulatory statement.

“We respect the Sri Lankan government’s decision,” the company said today in an e-mailed statement. “On that basis our project will not be going ahead.”

John Keells Holdings Plc., which is developing projects in Colombo, said Jan. 30 it will “engage” with the government over its decision to restrict space for gaming activities.

Wickremesinghe was appointed prime minister this month after Maithripala Sirisena became president in a surprise election victory that ended the 10-year rule of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

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