Colombo’s Bally’s casino eyes massive online gambling industry

Bally’s, one of the leading casinos in Colombo, has taken its services online to tap into the global online gambling industry, estimated to be worth nearly US$ 50 billion.

A new website, in addition to its main website, has been set up for this purpose by Bally’s in collaboration with BetConstruct, an Armenian a software development company that provides products and services for the gambling industry.

According to Statista, the online gambling industry was worth US$ 47 billion in 2017 and will close in on US$ 60 billion by 2020, fuelled by relaxed regulations from Governments around the world and changing customer preferences.

BetConstruct said in a statement that it has developed a custom solution for Bally’s casino which meets the original branding and promoting Bally’s to web players worldwide, as part of a special project for land-based casino operators to target the highly profitable online gaming sector.

BetConstruct said its software “combines the thrill of being on a gaming floor in a landed casino with the convenience of playing on a device linked to the Internet – on a desktop computer, tablet or a mobile phone”.

Bally’s Casino, owned by business tycoon Dhammika Perera, is situated in Colombo Fort and is popular with foreigners and affluent Sri Lankans.

Casinos, which are highly regulated in Sri Lanka, have been under fire from the current Government. Earlier this year, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) introduced Customer Due Diligence rules for those carrying on businesses such as casinos and gambling houses, including such business carried out through the internet, which apply when a customer engages in financial transactions of US $ 3,000 or more.

Previously, in 2015, the Government imposed a Rs 1 billion (US $7 million) fee on the country’s four small-scale casino operators and doubled the annual casino levy from Rs 200 million to Rs 400 million, while imposing a 25% surtax on casino profits. It has also threatened a mandatory $100 casino entry fee, although that is yet to be imposed.

In the same year Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe declared that casinos would not feature prominently in the tourism promotion or revenue generation plans of the Government and that Australian casino mogul James Packer was unwelcome in Sri Lanka, leading Packer to abandon a planned US$ 400 million casino and resort in Colombo.