Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  01 Sep 2010

GAMBLING: Intrigue Over New Casino Licence


Recent Western Cape Business News

PROPOSALS last month by the Western Cape Gambling and Betting Board to review the exclusivity of the Cape Town casino licence is providing plenty intrigue.

The proposals do not offer a new casino licence for the province, but intends making provisions for one of the four regional licences – either Worcester, the Garden Route, Mykonos near Langebaan and Caledon – to transfer its licence to the big city.

Currently Sun International is the holder of the sole Cape Town casino licence at GrandWest.

But GrandWest’s period of exclusivity expires at the end of the year.

While it’s been a fairly good run for Sun International at the Goodwood-based GrandWest venue, the new licence proposals are hardly the death knell for the company’s Cape Town market.

It would seem the Western Cape Gambling and Betting Board is stipulating that the ‘new’ Cape Town licence plies a fresh market segment. In this instance it appears the idea is to create an upmarket environment to cater for high rollers – which would surely suggest a venue in the Waterfront.

Clearly the development will cost big bucks – which should not be a problem for either Sun International or Tsogo, which (after its upcoming merger with Gold Reef Resorts) will hold three of the five Cape licences.

The odds seem stacked in favour of Tsogo/Gold Reef Resorts – which holds the Garden Route, Mykonos and Caledon casinos – securing the second Cape Town licence.

If such a deduction is realistic – and the licensing process probably has a long way to run – then it would seem Mykonos would almost certainly be Tsogo/Gold Reef’s candidate for the Cape Town licence.

Considerable amounts of capital have been poured into developing the Garden Route casino – which currently trades relatively unchallenged in a profitable niche.

Caledon (see separate story in this edition) has also recently added considerably to its infrastructure – including plans for a golf course.

Mykonos, though, remains fairly nomadic – not rooted to a surfeit of infrastructure. Last year CBN quoted Gold Reef Resorts CEO Steven Joffe around – at that stage long shot plans – to shift the Mykonos licence to Cape Town.

Joffee indicated there were very compelling fiscal benefits for shifting an outlying licence into Cape Town.

The new DA led provincial government must have concurred wholeheartedly.

Of course, there could always be a curve ball.

What chances Sun International sells its controlling stake in the Worcester casino to another deep pocketed party willing to motivate for transferring the licence to Cape Town?

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