Final green light for casino

Image by © Tim Pannell/Corbis

Image by © Tim Pannell/Corbis

The establishment of a mega casino at Menlyn is going full steam ahead after the final obstacle against the R3 billion project was removed.

In a surprise agreement reached between Sun International and the Goldrush Group, a Gauteng North High Court application to halt the building of the casino in the east of Pretoria, has been withdrawn.

Sun International earlier successfully applied to the Gauteng Gambling Board to relocate its Morula casino licence from its current site in Mabopane to Menlyn – a move initially opposed by several community organisations, churches, schools and also Goldrush.

Goldrush, which has bingo operations at among other venues, Atterbury Value Mart, the Kollonade centre and in Centurion, initially challenged the relocation of Morula casino to Menlyn.

Court action by the community to halt the relocation of the casino had already proved unsuccessful and a challenge by the Peermont Group had also been settled earlier so the Goldrush suit was the final obstacle against the move.

Sun International has however now informed shareholders that the court action by Goldrush has been withdrawn.

“Sun International is pleased to advise shareholders that the last remaining objection relating to the proposed relocation of its Morula casino licence has been withdrawn,” the gaming giant announced.

“Sun International and Goldrush have entered into a settlement agreement.”

As part of the settlement, Goldrush would apply to relocate one of its bingo licences to the Morula site and commence operations thereon once the existing casino licence has been relocated, it was stated.

Although Goldrush did not comment, it is believed that the bingo operator had not yet decided which of its operations would be moved to Mabopane.

The group was however excited about having access to the Morula venue as it was “perfect for our type of gaming”, a source who asked not to be identified, told Rekord.

The detailed plans and costing for Sun International’s proposed new development at Menlyn Maine were close to being finalised and Sun International was confident that without any further impediments to the development and construction, the target opening date of September 2017 will be achieved, Sun International informed shareholders.

Construction of the massive entertainment complex in Menlyn Maine has started already.

Sun International spokesman Michael Farr said the company expected that in addition to significant job creation, the development would also generate considerably more revenue for both the provincial and the national governments in taxes and gaming levies.

“It is anticipated that some R1.7 billion in gaming taxes and VAT would be generated in the first five years of operation at Menlyn Maine and the total estimated revenue to the government from the project over a five year period is estimated at R2.7 billion.

“The benefit for Tshwane is immense. It will gain a new integrated entertainment destination, one that will become an icon for the city and complement its development and growth objectives,” Farr said.

He added that the multiplier effect of the R3 billion investment far exceeded the impact generated by the current Morula casino licence, and Sun International expected the project to deliver cumulative contribution to GDP of as much as R19 billion during construction and over the first five years of operation.

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