Regulatory bill sparks international interest in country’s gambling industry

COLOMBO: In a major move for the local sector, Sri Lanka’s gambling industry is gearing up for massive transformation as the government greenlights a long-awaited bill to establish a regulatory authority for lawful gambling. The decision has sent shockwaves across the region, sparking interest from international gaming firms eyeing the island nation’s promising market.

Industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and gaming industry enthusiasts gathered at the SPiCE Sri Lanka conference in Colombo earlier this month, brought together by the country’s potential growth prospects and eager to explore the untapped opportunities in this new landscape.

Jade Entertainment and Gaming Founder and CEO Joe Pisano; PM International’s Chief Commercial Officer Dmitry Belianin; and Pari Consultants’ Consultant Gaming Parimalam Suppiah shared their insights and experiences during a panel conversation held within the framework of the conference.

Suppiah expressed his strong interest in the Sri Lankan market, echoed by the other speakers: “We have strong interest now to come to this market. We are actually from Central Asia. We are also looking at sports betting, and many opportunities.”

The pivotal moment that has brought together gaming enthusiasts and industry professionals alike is the cabinet’s approval to draft a bill that will establish a regulatory authority for lawful gambling in Sri Lanka. This regulatory body will be responsible not only for governing gambling operations but also for addressing responsible gambling practices.

As Pisano pointed out: “In any jurisdiction, one of the most important things is to bring in industry professionals to help draft that bill. Hopefully, the government here will reach out to industry leaders to bring in the investment into the country.”

The enactment of a robust regulatory framework is crucial in attracting international gaming companies to invest in Sri Lanka. With initiatives like the Port City development project, Sri Lanka is poised to become an attractive destination for global operators, noted the experts. Pisano added, “There is a 15-hectare lot [in Port City] and let’s say, to attract a Nevada-based operator, you need to have those regulations in place.”

Besides creating favorable business conditions, industry leaders stressed the importance of establishing a gambling ads framework to strike the right balance between regulation and growth. Belianin added: “I think bringing the proper advertising regulations will allow the industry to grow, allow the operators to invest more money into the sports and into marketing.”

As the industry gears up for a potential influx of gaming operators, concerns were raised about the competition from gray market operators who have long targeted Sri Lankan players unchecked. However, it was unanimously agreed that proper regulations would provide a level playing field for both new entrants and existing operators.

Pisano remarked, “With regulation in place, moving from gray would be step one for gray market players. I see a big future in Sri Lanka.” The growth potential of Sri Lanka’s gaming industry is nothing short of promising, especially with its high smartphone and internet penetration rates, Suppiah added.

Suppiah highlighted: “The development opportunities in the country right now are massive due to the internet penetration, the passion for sports and also the passion for games. The percentage of internet penetration in the country is one of the highest in the region as well.”

© Yogonet

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *