The Eastern Cape police reported that they have arrested five men in connection with a robbery that took place at a mini casino in Mthatha in the province. The men, who were armed, allegedly entered the Ritz Bingo Entertainment establishment, which forms part of the Mthatha Plaza, and stole money.
Police spokesperson, Colonel Mzukisi Fatyela said in a statement following the men’s arrest: “The men were arrested in different areas in Mthatha on Tuesday night and two firearms were recovered.”
According to the police, the suspects are highly likely to have committed other crimes in the area. The men will appear in court after the police have formally charged them.
Unfortunately, casino heists aren’t something unheard of at South African gambling establishments. Last year, fourteen men were arrested after trying to rob the Emperors Palace Casino in Gauteng. Police received a tip off that 19 men were planning to rob the casino and authorities confronted them at the entrance. A shootout ensued and two of the men were shot and wounded, while three others were arrested on the spot. Another group was followed down the road from the casino and five more suspects were subsequently arrested, while another four were arrested inside the casino. Police recovered AK47 assault rifles, pistols and revolvers at the scene of the crime.
The Mthatha Plaza casino falls under the Eastern Cape Gambling and Betting Board, which divided the area into five zones to administer casino licenses.
The other four licenses are held by Emfuleni Resorts for its Broadwalk Casino in Port Elizabeth, Tsogo Sun for its East London based Hemingways Casino, Transkei Sun International which trades as the Wild Coast Sun Casino and Lukhanji Limited for its Queenstown based Queens Casino.
The gambling board also licenses a number of bookmakers, route operators, totalisators and casino manufacturers.
The board oversees all gambling activities in the Eastern Cape under the Eastern Cape Gambling and Betting Act. These include regulatory services such as licensing all gambling activities, law enforcement such as the inspection of gambling facilities to ensure that they comply with the law, and revenue collection such as taxes and fees.
The ECGBB also promotes responsible gambling, monitors CSI initiatives by the industry and also facilitates investments.