Sun International Opens all Urban Casinos

Following hot on the heels of Time Square Casino in Pretoria - the first South African casino to open on Monday 29 June, and Grandwest Casino in Cape Town, which opened on Tuesday 30 June - Sun International has moved quickly to open all its urban casinos. Sun International’s urban casinos are

reopening with restricted tables and slot machine capacities, and with physical shields installed between slot machines and between seats at gaming Tables. Every second slot machine has been disabled to ensure appropriate physical distancing between guests on the casino floor. Safety measures include temperature tests

conducted at entrances, while only members of Sun International’s loyalty programme - Most Valued Guests (MVGs) - will be allowed access onto the casino floor for the foreseeable future. They will also be required to complete a medical screening questionnaire in advance of their visit. “As our country slowly reopens we know that

we will need to find a new normal and adapt to new ways of doing things. We ask that our guests be understanding of the strict new health and safety protocols and particularly the wearing of masks and physical distancing”, said Graham Wood, Sun International Group COO for Hospitality. Other casino properties that opened on 30

June include The Boardwalk in Port Elizabeth, Carnival City in Ekurhuleni, GrandWest in Cape Town, Sibaya in Durban and Time Square in Pretoria. Casinos opening on Wednesday 1 July are Flamingo Casino in Kimberley, Golden Valley Casino in Worcester, Meropa Casino in Polokwane and Windmill Casino in Bloemfontein. As interprovincial and national borders are still


closed, certain Sun International properties will not open for the time being. These include Sun City Resort, The Wild Coast Sun Resort, The Boardwalk Hotel, The Maslow Sandton Hotel and The Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town.

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SunCoast Smoking Casino Stokes Smoking Ban Debate

SunCoast Casino’s recent invite to its patrons to enjoy the casino’s offerings, which include new dedicated smoking areas have fanned the flames of a debate around governement over-reach in the public’s personal lives and fredom of choice. A possibly well-intentioned ban on smoking,

apparently designed to curb the spread of covid among those smokers who share a single cigarette (a widespread practice among a large portion of the population who purchase cigarettes as singles instead of packets - often at inflated prices too, from unregulated and untaxed outlets) - has left smokers fuming over lack of personal choice. Adding to this debate now is the recent

opening and marketing of smoking sections in casinos. Government has conceded that casinos may legally operate smoking sections inside their facilities despite concern from sections of the public and the cabinet. Casino’s were allowed to resume operations in June as part of efforts by the Department of Tourism to stimulate the sector but must adhere to strict protocols and capacity and hygiene. Tsogo Sun who own Suncoast Casino have

defended the establishment of a smoking section. “All changes to the casino floor are in line with

the required regulations,” Tsogo Sun Communications Manager Kelly Graham said in recent response to the Sunday Tribune newspaper. The Department of Cooperative Governance and

Traditional Affairs which is headed up by Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma expressed concern over

the practice but conceded that there is no legal impediment to casinos having a smoking section. While smoking is banned in public places,

venues such as casinos may designate smoking areas according to the Tobacco Products Control Act 83 of 1993. “This invites a problem. It creates an avenue for the sale of illicit cigarettes. I must reiterate though, the temporary ban is on the sale of cigarettes and not on smoking,” Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs spokesperson Lungi Mtshali said - also to the Sunday Tribune. “Although this ban remains in place; venues are

allowed to demarcate specific areas for smoking,” Casinos are barred from selling cigarettes in

line with the national lockdown regulations. The ban has proven controversial to say the

least with multiple court cases launched to have it overturned. The ongoing ban on cigarette sales has been

mired in controversy, not only as it is robbing the fiscus of tax on legal cigarettes sales, but is driving the lucrative black-market sale of cigarettes, with recent allegations surfacing around Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s own close ties to illegal cigarette cartels - an allegation she has strongly denied. Allegations around legal cigarette firms circumventing taxes by offsetting some of their legally manufactured product via black-market channels to avoid excise duty have also been made in the press.

Tsogo Sun COO Leaves Group

Ravi Nadasen – a well-known tourism industry leader and chief operations officer of JSE-listed hospitality group Tsogo Sun Hotels – has been headhunted by top international private schooling firm, Inspired. Nadasen will join the group in August as CEO of its South African operation, which currently has 12

high-end private schools under the Reddam House and Reddford House brands in the country. Speaking to Moneyweb, Nadasen said he was

sad to be leaving Tsogo Sun after 24 years: “It wasn’t an easy decision … [I] think it is the right time for a new challenge,” he added.

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