The Western Cape High Court gave a ruling that declared the old Western Gambling and Racing Policy Determination invalid. According to the Western Cape High Court’s ruling, this suspension will last for a year.
More so, this will give room for a new regulatory policy for gambling to be enacted. The main reason the Western Cape High Court suspended current gambling laws in SA was that Tsogo Holdings challenged the refusal of the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board to amend their license to accommodate their relocation to the Cape Metropolitan area.
Initially, Tsogo Sun Holdings applied that its Caledon and Mykonos casino licenses should be amended to accommodate their intending operations in the Cape metropolitan area.
The regulatory authority, Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board, did not approve the request. That’s why Tsogo Holdings proceeded to the court.
Why Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board Refused Tsogo Holdings Request?
The Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board (WCGRB) rejected the request of Tsogo Holdings because, according to a spokesman of the regulatory body, it would amount to cannibalism in the casino industry. Also, considering such an application would be incompetent, according to the regulatory body.
Furthermore, the casino regulatory believed that affecting such policy would affect other casinos in the area. For instance, GrandWest Casino is located in the Metropole area, where Tsogo Holding hoped to amend their license to accommodate. It does seem that allowing Tsogo Holdings to come into the Metropole area where GrandWest Casino already has a license to operate would affect their business. No gainsaying, Tsogo Holdings is one of the biggest casino operators in SA.
The board added that the Tsogo Holding application failed because the WC Act does not allow relocating an existing casino operation to another location by amending their license conditions. According to the board’s statement on a court document, it would have been better if Tsogo Holding applied for a new license stating the new premises where they want to operate.
Will the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board Appeal the Decision?
Premier Winde, who was also a party to the suit, told the press after the court ruling that the board has no intention to appeal the court’s decision. Also, Premier Winde was a respondent in the suit filed by Tsogo Sun Holdings.
Furthermore, Winde said that the court’s decision would also be considered since a new gambling bill has been published. The new gambling bill referred to by Winde is already at the public hearing stage. Stakeholders in the gambling industry are expected to submit their comments to be considered.
Casino Operator: Tsogo Sun Holding Overview
Tsogo Sun Holdings is one of the biggest casino operators in South Africa. In most cases, their casino locations comprise hotels, restaurants, and bars. Tsogo Sun Holdings was founded in 1989.
What’s more, Tsogo Sun Holding has more than 13 casinos in South Africa. Most of their casinos feature games such as new online slots, bingo, and table games, etc. Some of the casinos owned by the Tsogo Sun Holding that located in SA are:
- Gold Reef City Casino
- Silverstar Casino
- Suncoast Casino
- Golden Horse Casino
- Blackrock Casino
- The Caledon Casino
- Garden Route Casino
- Mykonos Casino
- Emnotweni Casino
- The Ridge Casino
- Hemingways Casino
- Goldfield Casino
The Tsogo Sun Holding Group is considered the second biggest casino operator in SA. The Tsogo Holding trails Sun International, which is regarded as the biggest casino operator in South Africa. No doubt, Tsogo Sun Holdings owns other investments aside from casinos. Tsogo Holdings operates hotels, restaurants, and bars too.
How the Western Cape High Court’s Decision Will Affect SA Gambling Industry
No doubt, the Western Cape High Court decision would form the basis for the new gambling bill that is at the public hearing stage. With the Western Cape High Court decision, it appears that the new gambling bill would accommodate casino operators that desire to relocate their casino license.
Also, the proposed Western Cape 19th Gambling and Racing Amendment Bill seeks to give the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board an exclusive right over the fees paid by casino operators. For the past years, the board has relied heavily on the transfer payments from the Provincial Treasury. This amendment will provide the board with a steady source of income to run their activities.
The Future of SA Gambling Industry
Undoubtedly, the SA land-based industry in SA is going through some tough times. Whether or not the new gambling bill is amended to allow relocation of licenses, if online casino industry is not legalized, the gambling revenues of the country will continue to dwindle.
Stakeholders in the SA gambling industry need to seize the opportunity and advocate for the legalization of online casinos in SA.