Colombo, Aug 21 (IANS) The Sri Lankan government has approved a $350 million casino project spearheaded by Australian gaming mogul James Packer after a change in its design, the media reported Wednesday.
The project, which aims to bring largescale gambling into the island, was in the centre of the capital on the edge of Beira Lake, reports Xinhua.
Sri Lanka's powerful Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the president's brother, had protested against the design of the integrated resort which includes a 400-room hotel with gaming facilities as it would block view of the lake to the public.
Local reports quoted Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena as saying that Packer had reconsidered the design.
"Earlier, the plan was to set up one structure. Now the agreement was changed to set up two towers. This will not disrupt the view of the Beira Lake," Abeywardena said.
The government had also offered alternative land for the project in a separate area that is earmarked to become a casino zone.
The government has come under fire from the main opposition for giving a 10-year tax holiday to Packer's project.