Gambling bosses slam bill for Cape Town Casino

Gambling bosses slam bill that would see another casino in Cape Town

13 JULY 2018, 09:24AM / JASON FELIX [IOL]

Casino bosses have slammed the Western Cape government’s proposed legislation that allows for the relocation of casinos, saying if implemented it could lead to a massive decline in gambling revenue, overall profits and a loss of jobs.

The Draft Western Cape Nineteenth Gambling and Racing Amendment Bill, 2018, seeks to amend the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Act, 1996 (Act 4 of 1996). The new legislation would permit the moving of existing casinos to other areas. Casinos were established in five of the province’s district municipal regions, and owners were each granted a licence to operate a casino exclusively for a 10-year period in a designated area. The exclusivity periods have now expired.

There are now proposals to make casino licences available in the City’s eastern region (Somerset West, Strand) and in the Table Bay and Tygerberg area.

Anthony Leeming, chief executive of Sun International, said relocation by competitors would have a negative impact on GrandWest Casino. If the bill was passed into law “any of the four licensed outlying casinos will be allowed to apply to the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board for amendment of their licenses”.

“The amendment, if granted, will permit the respective casino operator to relocate their licensed operations from their existing locations in the outlying areas to the newly established Table Bay and eastern region.” He said GrandWest Casino, the metro licence holder, could see a decline of 24% of gross gambling revenue. “The headcount will likely decline by 15 to 20%.

“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.” The closure of one or two of the outlying casinos would lead to retrenchments and hit local economies hard.

“If Worcester is to close, 92 employees are forecast to lose their jobs alongside a reduction of R9 million in supplier spend.” In terms of the bill, “economic opportunity fees” would accrue to the holder of a casino operator licence as a direct result of a casino relocation.

Jacques Booysen, Tsogo Sun chief executive, said: “We have seen the draft legislation and will submit our comments in terms of the process, with comments due by July 31. We are supportive of the possibility of relocating outlying casinos into the metropole as long as this is done in a manner that makes commercial sense for us.”

Western Cape Finance MEC Ivan Meyer said the bill had been proposed for several reasons, but referred the Cape Argus to his office. Denis Joseph, chairperson of the legislature’s finance committee, said the bill was yet to be tabled before the committee.

New casino on the cards for Cape Town?

Could a new casino be on the cards for Cape Town?

[CapeTalk 18 July 2018 9:43 AM]

Leisure group, Tsogo Sun has applied to the City of Cape Town to allow for a second casino in Cape Town by “rezoning” a location in Somerset West.

But not everyone has welcomed the idea.

Anthony Leeming, CEO at competitor Sun International Group, explains why it won’t be a good idea to have a second casino in Cape Town.

The ability for Tsogo to relocate two licenses as opposed to one Sun International and the ability to push for one very close to Grand West is far wider than we have anticipated, therefore the impact and the benefits aren’t what was foreseen.

As Grand West we dont believe relocation is necessary. We do have a situation where Tsogo was pushing to relocate and we were trying to find some sort of compromise.

From our perspective, the first prize would be not to relocate and we believe that would be in the best interest of Cape Town.

Leeming argues that having another casino in the metropole, where Sun International’s GrandWest casino has enjoyed exclusivity will not make a viable business sense and will not be good for the economy. He says there has to be a balance.

You have to make sure that the balance is right, the balance will obviously allow the stimulation of economic activity, but with that the question is – will it stimulate more or is it just a displacement.

To hear the rest of the interview with Sun International’s Anthony Leeming, click here