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CR78-p16-Africa&ME:SJC-Casino Review 22/3/09 01:02 Page 1
October restart for
corruption trial
The trial of the Namibian
official responsible for the
gaming industry accused of
allegedly taking backhanders
in exchange for issuing
licences is set to resume in
October. Sackey Namugongo
is facing 40 counts of fraud and corruption during 2006. He is
alleged to have pocketed 300,000 Namibian dollars (about
E23,000). If convicted he faces a substantial prison term.
As a key licence for Sun International, the Wild Coast Sun, is renewed,
local leaders are applying ever greater pressure on the operator to ensure
First WAP
that the local community benefits from the casino’s success.
installed in Malawi
Tribal king and
wideappeal the gaming industry and chal-
MALAWI lenge the negative percep-
tions held by many Africans.
The Colony Club in Blantyre, She said: “The WAP
Malawi’s second city, has project is not only compli-
Sun clash over
hosted the launch of the cated but new in Malaswi
country’s first Wide Area Pro- and this part of Africa.
gressive network. However, despite this,
Operator KaiRo Interna- Colony has managed to
licence renewal
tional, which has invest- implement it in a given
ments in casinos and period. The board is very
gambling in four African pleased with this spirit of
countries, has installed the working and would like to
network extending to the commend the manage-
tourist towns on Lake Malawi ment of Colony Club for a
with the full support of the good job.”
national regulator. The She added: “It is the wish
country is only the second of government to revitalise
on the continent to legalise its tourist attraction areas
WAP networks. along the lake and other
Chairwoman of the towns. The WAP project is the
Malawi Gaming Board, catalyst for that to happen.
Scholastica Chidyaonga, KaiRo is therefore encour-
attending the launch, called aged to roll out its network in
for the country to revitalise the soonest time possible.”
Harrah’s and Gold
Reef square up
turfwars Talks about a possible
SOUTH AFRICA takeover - of whom by whom
is unclear - were held but were
The owner of the Emerald abandoned in 2006. Gold
Casino Resort, which lies Reef, which was acquired by
80km south of Johannesburg, a consortium of private
US operator Harrah’s Enter- investors in 2007, could be in
tainment, has said it will chal- a much stronger position now.
The Wild Coast Sun casino resort
south of Durban has had it licence
lenge a plan by Gold Reef Harrah’s, itself the subject of
renewed but faces continued
Resorts to build another huge leveraged buyout by
opposition from local leaders
casino in the area. private equity in 2008, is
According to Bloomberg, struggling under a debt
Emerald chief executive burden compounded by
fairshares It is a dispute that has gone on for many but that the Board had also imposed Michael Rice said his company lower revenues from its flag-
SOUTH AFRICA years: the lease agreement was signed in stringent conditions on the company will “aggressively oppose any ship venues in the US. Short
1979 by the former prime minister of to ensure it complied with its commit- application for a licence of of cash, it might yet feel the
Sun International, the largest operator in Transkei, George Matanzima, at a time ments - the details have not been attempt to build a casino”. need to sell Emerald.
South Africa, has had its licence for the when the region was a quasi separate released. However, his counterpart Gold Reef is full of confi-
Wild Coast Sun casino renewed despite state and gambling was banned in Acting chief executive of ECGBB at Gold Reef, Steven Joffe, dence and cash: it has just
objections from the tribal leader of Apartheid South Africa. The King has Menzi Mbina said that the report con- said his company “has very reported a 145 per cent
Eastern Pondoland, King Mpondombini said the agreement led to more than 100 tained confidential information but advanced plans” to build a increase in net profits to
Thandizulu Sicgau. families being displaced for which they that the King’s objections had been venue on the Vaal river, with R358m (E27.8m) for 2008 off
The licence was due to expire in have yet to receive compensation. taken into account. “But it was not such construction expected to sales that rose almost 30 per
August this year: Sun reapplied to the King Sicgau is now waiting to see as to prevent the licence. We sought an start later this year. cent to 2.2bn rand (E170m).
Eastern Cape Gambling and Betting what conditions have been attached to audience with the King but he was not
Board (ECGBB), promising a R340m the licence. His spokesman, Gordon available…[The signing of the lease]
(E26m) upgrade to the resort, and Ball, commented:“The King will fur ther was outside our jurisdiction and the
received news of its success in March. consult with traditional structures as Board is not able to comment on the
The decision will now go to the he raised serious objections about the fairness or lack thereof.”
province’s Member of the Executive renewal. [He believes licence renewal One of the shareholders of the
Council for the Treasury, Phumulo Masu- to be] anti-competitive, financially casino is the Mbizana Development
alle, who has the power to establish a prejudicial to the people of Pondoland Trust, a vehicle created to channel the
gaming tribunal if he sees necessary. and cloaked in a bribery scandal…The ownership interests of the amaM-
The challenge from King Sicgau is gambling board have not answered pondo nation and through which com-
based on lack of spin-off benefits to the many of our questions, so we will see munity empowerment projects are
local community, in particular a 50-year whether they have been tackled in the intended to be enacted. However, effec-
The Emerald Casino
Resort is being
lease (renewable for another 50 years) licence conditions.” tiveness of the trust has been called
challenged, one way or
on the beachfront site that sees the Keely Canca, ECGBB chairwoman, into question and the King has said
another, by Gold Reef
company pay R60,000 (E4,650) per year. said that Sun had met the requirements that he has no involvement at all in it.
16 April 2009 • africamiddleeastnews
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