SA Coronavirus Update: Sun International Forced to Close Two Casinos
As we continue to keep you updated about the effect of COVID-19 on South Africa’s gambling industry, this news just in: Sun International announced that after lockdown, it will be closing the Naledi and Carousel Casinos permanently.
While both casinos have been struggling for several years, it was the pandemic which finally caused the gambling group to make the unfortunate decision about its two properties.
Announcing Sun International’s decision, the CEO of the group, Anthony Leeming said that, given the unprecedented crisis that South Africa is facing, Sun International accepts that the authorities have no option but to implement a country-wide lockdown to protect lives.
“However,” he added, “the inevitable financial burden it placed on us has impacted our ability to continue subsidizing under-performing properties.”
According to Leeming, Naledi, which only offers slots games, has been running at a loss for a number of years. The Carousel, located near Pretoria, once formed an iconic part of Sun International’s portfolio but has also been incurring losses “for some time.”
“We previously made every effort to turn both businesses around, but these efforts have not achieved the desired results,” said Leeming.
The government extended the current lockdown restrictions until the end of April, in bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19. South Africa has over 3,000 reported cases of coronavirus and 52 deaths, as of April 19th. The lockdown was imposed before a single death had been reported.
While official numbers put the number of deaths on the entire African continent at 1,000 so far, analysts say that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Recently, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa warned that the death toll could reach as much as 3.3 million people.
Unrest has broken out in parts of South Africa due to chronic food shortages that were sparked by the pandemic. Shops have been looted, people attacked and the army called in to try and keep law and order.