New casino bill draws mixed reaction from South Africa gambling operators

TAGs: South Africa

Lawmakers in South Africa are considering the relocation of the country’s casinos to the newly established Trade Bay and eastern region, much to the disappointment of many local gambling operators.

New casino bill draws mixed reaction from South Africa gambling operatorsIOL News reported gambling operators opposed the enactment of the Western Cape Nineteenth Gambling and Racing Amendment Bill, 2018, which they claim would lead to slumping gambling revenues, falling profits and job losses if implemented.

The bill was intended to amend the existing Western Cape Gambling and Racing Act, 1996 (Act 4 of 1996), giving the Western Cape government the authority to compel existing casinos in five district municipal regions of the province to transfer to other areas.

While the bill has yet to be tabled before the legislative committee, South Africa-based casino operators like Sun International and Tsogo Sun Holdings Ltd. have expressed mixed opinions over the possible impact of the proposed bill to their operations.

Tsogo Sun CEO Jacques Booysen said the company would support the proposed relocations of casinos in Western Cape, as long as it “is done in a manner that makes commercial sense” for them.

South Africa’s biggest hotel and casino operator had been under pressure lately to temper its mounting debt by putting the brakes on acquisitions and business expansion. Tsogo Sun also reduced its spending in the most previous fiscal year by 8%, dropping it down to $261.5 million.

Tsogo Sun planned to submit its comments on the proposed bill before July 31 after seeing the draft legislation, according to Booysen.

Sun International, which operates the GrandWest Casino, was up in arms over the proposed relocation of their competitors, saying it might lead to lower profits and more layoffs in the future. The company’s chief executive, Anthony Leeming, estimated that GrandWest could see a gross gambling revenue decline of 24 percent while “headcount” will drop by 15 to 20 percent.

“The majority of job losses will be from the casino, but a drop in footfall will result in additional and similar job losses in the supporting… operations at GrandWest, as many of these businesses are entirely dependent on footfall generated by the casino,” Leeming said, according to the news outlet.


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