In the ongoing saga of Sun International’s request to build a R3 billion casino and hotel complex in Pretoria, the Gauteng Gambling Board heard strong opposition by rival group, Peermont, operators of the Emperors’ Palace Casino. Peermont has made its sentiments against the new casino heard throughout the four days of public hearings held by the gambling board, and analysts believe that if its objections are not heard, it will take the matter to court.
The Gauteng Gambling Board said that it will determine whether the Sun International casino can be built in Menlyn, Pretoria and have its decision known before July this year. Sun International wants to relocate the license it holds for the Morula Sun to the new complex.
Peermont, one of a whopping 6,000 objectors to the Menlyn project, was represented by Advocate David Unterhalter and his legal team. Peermont stands to lose a lot of money should the Gauteng Gambling Board allow Sun International to go ahead with the project and will do everything in its power to get the project halted.
According to Unterhalter, Sun International is applying for a license to run a casino that is different in every possible way from the beleaguered Morula Sun, and therefore the casino group’s application is fundamentally flawed. He claimed that instead of asking for a license transfer, Sun International should be applying for a brand new casino license. The lawyer also argued that the Gauteng Gambling Board is not allowed to award the relocation of a license.
The lawyer also argued that a new casino in the area had the potential “cannablize” other casinos and could cause financial harm to the value of R850 million a year. A new Menlyn casino would be within a half hour’s driving distance from Emperor’s Palace, as well as Monte Casino and Silver Star Casino, both run by Tsogo Sun. 30 minutes is approximately the time that gamblers are willing to drive to reach their favorite casino, according to gambling studies. Interestingly, Tsogo Sun has not lodged an objection to Sun International’s plans to build a new casino in Pretoria.
Peermont offers 14 different properties in southern Africa, including Emperors Palace and Hotel Casino in Johannesburg, Umfolozi Hotel Casino in Kwa-Zulu-Natal and the Graceland Hotel Casino and Country Club in Secunda, Mpumalanga.