May 2, 2024 3 min read


Melco Confirms Deal with John Keells for Sri Lanka Project

The collaboration designates Melco as the operator of the casino at John Keells' integrated resort, which will be renamed to City of Dreams Sri Lanka

The leading developer, owner and operator of integrated resorts in Europe and across Asia, Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited, announced it engaged in a strategic partnership with the largest conglomerate on the Colombo Stock Exchange and company with a rich history, John Keells Holdings PLC. Per the latest agreement, announced earlier this week, Melco was designated as the casino operator for John Keells’ integrated resort Cinnamon Life Integrated Resort.

Melco confirmed that under the terms of the collaboration, the Cinnamon Life Integrated Resort will be rebranded to City of Dreams Sri Lanka. In exchange for the rights to operate the casino, the company agreed to pay John Keells approximately $125 million. The announcement also comes after Melco recently secured a 20-year casino license from the Government of Sri Lanka. Ultimately, through the new deal, Melco secured access to the regulated gambling sector in the country, paving the way for its future growth.

Lawrence Ho, Melco’s chairman and CEO, revealed that the deal with John Keells marks a milestone achievement for the company’s development in the country. “We believe Sri Lanka has immense potential and this opportunity complements our existing portfolio of properties,” he added.

We are thrilled to be part of this landmark development in Sri Lanka and to be in partnership with John Keells. We believe Sri Lanka has immense potential and this opportunity complements our existing portfolio of properties.

Lawrence Ho, chairman and CEO at Melco

The Company Expects the Project to Boost Tourism in the Area

Additionally, Ho spoke about the exceptional potential of City of Dreams Sri Lanka, predicting that it will help propel tourism and lead to economic growth. He said that the company is expected to leverage its extensive experience in operating integrated resorts across the globe. Finally, Ho said: “We will continue to work closely with our esteemed partners and the Sri Lankan Government to ensure the success of this venture, and we expect to make a significant and positive impact on the local community and economy.”

The collaboration will see Melco operate not only the gaming area at City of Dreams Sri Lanka but also manage the top 5 floors of the venue’s hotel. The company will use its luxury Nuwa brand for 113 of the 800 hotel rooms at the integrated resort. Melco’s Nuwa brand is recognized for its luxury rooms, promising supreme hospitality experiences.

The part of the hotel which will be managed by John Keells is expected to be completed and start operating around the third quarter of this year. On the other hand, Melco confirmed that it expects to start operating the casino at City of Dreams Sri Lanka around mid-2025.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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