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AFRICA Boardwalk Casino, Port Elizabeth CI: Casino International is proudly


supporting the Gambling Indaba that is taking place in South Africa this November – what is the buzz around the event in your country? Is it a domestic or more international event? TN: This is its first year, so I think the buyers will be more local but the planning suggests the organisers want to make an ICE for Africa, or a G2E. That may take a little bit of time, but the plan is there.


CI: How will CASA move forward and work


better for its members? TN: Being a member association we are


have legalised gambling and do not have as extensive laws as we have; those include Zimbabwe, Namibia, Zambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Nigeria. Those countries are part of the regulators forum in Africa. Kenya is a country where, for some reason, anything to do with the internet is quite advanced; they were certainly the first country in the continent to legalise online gambling, and have other forms of gambling. Zimbabwe is not too far off as well, and there is a lot of gambling in Namibia.


CI: Looking at South Africa, it is a mature


market – is the only growth potential likely to be if online gaming comes on board or are there any regulatory changes likely to happen? TN: In terms of casino gaming, I would say the country is well served; in terms of the quota, we had a quota of 40 casino licences to be issued. 38 of those are operational, two are not, but those are simply because there have been no takers. The operators have not seen a potential market in those areas that have been proposed for those casinos, so licences have never been issued. There has been new forms of gambling; not


new in the sense that they have just been introduced, but at least in terms of growth even though they are still relatively small in terms of numbers. Casino gaming contributes in the region of 80% of the gaming revenue of South Africa. The rest is about 20 per cent – so by far casino gaming is the dominant form of gambling. There are now machines outside of casinos, what we call limited payout machines, limited in both prize and bet, and they have seen some growth; at the year end March 2015 their year-on-year growth was 19.6%. But considering that growth was from quite a small


32 SEPTEMBER 2015


base it must be understood in relativity. The biggest growth we saw was in the bingo sector, but it is not simply because more people are playing, it is more that electronic gaming machines or terminals have been introduced. They look like slot machines but promoted as a bingo game; those machines account for a significant growth of 52.5%.


CI: Are these sectors cutting in to the casino market or is the gaming market growing overall? TN: I’m sure there will be some areas where


casino revenues will be eroded, but I am also sure they will create new markets and introduce new players to gaming. We believe that the biggest threat to our


revenue comes from illegal online gambling, because that is the only thing that is really new; the other gaming forms have been around for a long time. It’s not so much that people log on to a web site from home, it’s when people operate businesses that offer online gambling. It’s like a mini casino but illegally operated. Someone will rent a space, put in a few computer terminals, and offer the services. That’s our biggest headache – the extent and


driven by our members’ needs, most of what we want and intend to do is dependent on whether there are regulatory changes, which we are seeing more and more. As the regulations change we have to assess the impact on the industry and respond accordingly. We started a campaign to educate the public about online gambling and what it costs the country to do it illegally in terms of negative socio-economic impact – that’s the kind of activity that we will continue to engage in, for our members.


CI: How does the Casino industry in South Africa benefit the country as a positive force?


TN: Overall, casino operators paid to


government 4.5bn Rand in the financial year 2013-2014 as a combination of gaming levies, Value Added Tax and corporate tax. It’s not a small amount of money, our government relies on taxes for its revenue. Then there is the issue of jobs; the industry


created more than 64,000 jobs and those are just the direct ones in the casino world, not including the employees of suppliers.


Emperors Palace Casino, Kempton Park


sheer number of those that are running around the country is huge. Enforcement agencies have not been up to the task of policing them at this stage, so they are thriving. They are disguised with names like ‘internet café’, ‘entertainment lounges’, but we know what goes on there.


Regarding social responsibility, the industry accounts for about 80m Rand; we account for 7,800 hotel rooms in the country as well. That’s just in the casino industry, we are not talking B&Bs here. The two biggest convention centres in South Africa (in Johannesburg and Cape Town) were also built with casino money; a lot of good has come to South Africa thanks to our industry.


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