Casinos conflict with culture of Sri Lanka – Relocate them elsewhere
Posted on April 30th, 2013

Shenali Waduge

The religious texts of Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam all explicitly prohibit and discourages gambling and other such related vices. Nevertheless, numerous casinos have been operating in Sri Lanka over the years. It has now emerged that one of the world’s biggest and most famous casino operators is eyeing on setting up a mega casino complex in the heart of Colombo. A common census amongst the 3 main communities of Sri Lanka would like that due respect must be given to the cultures and values most of us still wish to uphold and would like to propose that ALL CASINOS be relocated to an exclusive area where foreign gamblers can even fly in and out without troubling the culture and affecting the lives of the people.

Many people who enjoy gambling as a form of entertainment don’t often think about the ethical or moral implications of their pastime but in a Third World country such as ours we need to look at the serious implications that such vices will result.

The question is not about the investment brought or the increase in the number of foreign visitors that would result. From the casinos operating already we know how ordinary citizens caught into the web of risk taking and gambling have ended up losing all at the cost of an entire family. This is an unbearable loss for any family whatever religion or race they belong to.

Of course amongst all the communities there are the elite few for whom gambling is a risk well worth taking and the losses are minimal compared to what they earn. Their number is miniscule in the context of the entire population of Sri Lanka. There is also a lot of black money floating which are spent on such endeavors given that banking such would lead to questions.

While we are aware that banning already existing casinos is impossible the best alternative in a win-win scenario is to have all these casinos relocated to a place like Kalpitiya where flights can operate for foreign gamblers in an area exclusively created for such activity but banned from local entry except for the local gamblers obtaining membership. This can be a Macau like scenario where large profits for the country can emerge but will not compromise on the culture and heritage that we wish to continue without tarnishing. The likely scenarios causing collapse of families promotes that we look into these ground realities first before resorting to damage control later.

From the rising examples of violence at nightclubs and the business accrued by brothels these are lessons that as a community we must come together and say NO to. We do not want our country to be turned into a brothel or casino paradise and we would remember at one time with the lack of monitoring of the tourists, Sri Lanka was once described as a pedophiles paradise and there were many catering children for profits.

These are all lessons that we need to learn from and not feel sorry afterwards. Every child is a child of Sri Lanka and we must nurture good citizens with good morals and values that respect the history and culture of Sri Lanka.

All governments should protect the most vulnerable in our society from casinos that exploit human weaknesses and addictions. This request is for the community leaders of all faiths to take up at higher levels

In the “Sigalovada Sutta: The Layman’s Code of Discipline.”, Buddha describes six evil consequences in indulging in gambling:

1.    The winner begets hate,

2.    The loser grieves for lost wealth,

3.    The loss of wealth,

4.    His word is not relied upon in a court of law,

5.    He is despised by his friends and associates,

6.    He is not sought after for matrimony; for people would say he is a gambler and is not fit to look after a wife.

The Bhagawat Gita says “No illicit sex, no meat-eating, no gambling, no intoxication.”

The sacred text of Islam, The Holy Qur’an, says: “O ye who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination, “”…” of Satan’s handwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper. Satan’s plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of God, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain?” (Sura Ma’idah 5:90,91).




13 Responses to “Casinos conflict with culture of Sri Lanka – Relocate them elsewhere”

  1. Senevirath Says:

    If the govt wants casinos to earn money they should be open only to foreigners.

    is this the DHARMDEEPAYA?

  2. herman Says:

    Yes, a casino is a very easy way to attract monies and boost the economy but the magnitude of the downsides and its adverse effects far outweighs their economic benefits.

  3. hela patriot Says:


  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    Casinos should not be encouraged in any country as it can bring financial ruin to an individual or to an entire family. If games excitement is looked for, Monopoly money (false money) can be used within the gaming house and small prizes such as theatre tickets, boxes of chocolate, books, lotto tickets, etc. given for high wins.

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    Gaming Houses can make profits from quality food & drinks and offer Monopoly money according to money spent on food & drink. Many may find this ‘tame’ but it will save individuals from gong broke and families breaking up.

  6. Lorenzo Says:

    I think the problem with the govt. is it is run by UNPers, CWC, SLMC who crossed over.

    They hold powerful ministries. Their number is shocking.

    Copied from a 2010 document. Hope still valid.

    e.g. CWC and SLMC have 4 ministries
    Mervin Silva
    Gamini Lokuge
    Sarath Amunugama
    Range Bandara
    GL Pieris

    I’m sure there are MORE UNP, CWC, SLMC ministers than SLFP. Casino, drugs, drunkards are Colombian concepts. That’s where the country is going.

    I wonder why NO nightclubs, brothels, drug joints, tavarns and casinos in Jaffna? The labor supply is there in Jaffna.

  7. Fran Diaz Says:

    Destroying a country from within, for a Few Dollars More ???

  8. Senevirath Says:

    British gave free liquer and cigerettes to kandian sinhalese to destroy them . Later they got addicted NO WONDER U.N.P WAS DOING THESE THINGS .


  9. Fran Diaz Says:

    Sinhala Buddhists should learn from the American Indians who took to opening Casinos in their Reservations to make money.

    Here are the conclusions to that experiment :

    “However, the modern sources of income such as mass tourism, the sale of natural resources and casinos are controversial among the American Indians. Some tribes (for example the Navajo, the Hopi and the Winnemem Wintu) reject and boycott the casinos, being thoroughly convinced that this business threatens their American Indian culture. Furthermore the output of natural resources destroys or at least endangers the reservation’s nature and wildlife.
    Therefore and because of fear that the success could end some day, many chiefs and heads of tribal governments are searching for other options to make money and in general many tribes try to promote their traditional economic methods: for example some tribes are busy on re-naturalizing mustangs, wapiti, elks and buffalo as their traditional food. A new idea developed in the recent years is the operation of renewable resources and sustainable energy and sources of income which are and less dependent on grants and foreign interests. So gaming, land leasing and mass tourism are only considered as transitional economy which helps to give the actual objectives a start”.

  10. Fran Diaz Says:

    More details on the Red Indian Casino experiment (taken from Wikipedia) :

    Indian gaming casinos are often considered a potential solution to reservation poverty. Because reservations are exempt from many federal and state regulations, including those prohibiting gambling, tribes are able to operate commercial casinos on reservations. These casinos can provide jobs on the reservation, attract tourists, and bring in money for tribes to fund education, health, and social service programs. The Ojibwe of Minnesota have built two schools, the Choctaw of Oklahoma have built a new hospital, and the Pueblo of New Mexico have rebuilt their water system, all using casino profits. Other tribes fund child and elder care programs, health services, fire and police protection, and housing development with gambling earnings.[55] Casinos also provide much-needed job opportunities on reservations. In 1989, average levels of unemployment on reservations was above 30 percent. In the next decade, that rate dropped to 13 percent on reservations with casinos, while remaining stagnant on reservations without casinos.[56]
    Casinos’ impact on overall economic conditions, however, is limited. Through the 1990s, the number of reservation residents eligible for public assistance programs increased across on most reservations. Although the rate of increase was slightly less on reservations that had casinos, the casinos were unable to reverse trends of worsening poverty.[57] There are a number of factors explaining why casinos have done little to change living conditions on many reservations, despite the income they bring in. First, a relatively small number of casinos bring in the majority of casino income. In the 1990s, ten casinos brought in more than half the earned money, and 20 percent of casinos brought in more than 80 percent of earnings.[58] Those that are most financially successful tend to be small reservations with relatively few inhabitants located near metropolitan areas that do not have as high poverty rates as larger, more rural reservations, which hold a much greater portion of the nations’ reservation inhabitants.[59] Many of the reservations facing the most dire poverty also are the most geographically isolated, meaning outside tourists rarely travel to the casinos. Instead, they are visited by reservation residents. Depending on the profit distribution plan of the tribe, this can result in a redistribution of income from many to a few,[60] and a factionalization of the reservation population between those who spend at casinos and those who earn from them.[61] When reservation residents spend portions of their sometimes very sparse incomes gambling, casinos can serve to exacerbate rather than relieve conditions of poverty.[58] This is especially true when a casino’s income is sent off the reservation, as is frequently the case when tribal governments must rely on outside investors to build casinos. These non-native investors often take substantial portions of the profits for years following construction to repay their initial contributions.[62] Beyond initial investments, some casinos rely on outside management companies for day-to-day operations. Currently, fifteen percent of casino revenues go to such management firms.[56]
    Beyond limited economic efficacy, casinos have faced criticism on cultural grounds. Some tribal leaders have raised concerns that gambling goes against cultural beliefs and values, and is not a solid cultural foundation for native economic development. Without culturally sensitive investment in education and job creation, they assert, conditions of poverty will not change”.

    If the Casinos brought no solutions to the economic problems of the tribal Red Indians, it will not bring any solutions to the economic problems of Sri Lanka either. Actually, the downside of it all may well be greater than any gains.

    Some questions to ask re the proposed Casinos :

    (a) What is the ultimate purpose/goals of the proposed Casinos ?
    (b) Who are the people financing these Casinos ?

  11. Christie Says:

    There are four legal casinos in Colombo, least bet is Rs 500 and I gues at least two of them are run by Indians or Indian colonial parasites. (please tell me who owns these four casinos). According to a car hire driver at the BIA most of the Casino patrons are Indians. You have to have foreing passport to enter the casinos in Colombo.
    Proposed Casino owner has gambling and entertainments venues around the world and if he sets up shop in Colombo, then we have hit the jackpot.
    When I was small I knew an old man who could not read or write, but he could alwasys pick a horse from the Thaha’s racing sheet “Thahage rais kole”; Thaha was an Indian colonial parasite or an Indian.

  12. Fran Diaz Says:

    Thanks for info, Christie.
    These people sound as if they have no goals of value but just rake in money from customers bitten by the gambling bug. Same
    for proposed Casino owner … Colombo and surrounds would have hit the jackpot for suicides, family break up etc. unless the new Casinos too are confined to foreigners only.

  13. Lorenzo Says:

    Earlier I asked

    “I wonder why NO nightclubs, brothels, drug joints, tavarns and casinos in Jaffna? The labor supply is there in Jaffna.”

    Now I know the answer. They are Indian parasites and parasites don’t bite parasites!!!

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