North West Awarded Fifth Casino Licence After Failed Constitutional Court Appeal By Casino Association Of South Africa (CASA)
The North West Province was awarded five casino licenses in terms of the National Gambling Act of 1996. In 2006, as a result of, inter alia, the demarcation of provincial boundaries, the area of the North West at which the Morula Sun Casino is located was excised from the North West Province to Gauteng Province. By then a new 2004 National Gambling Act had been promulgated.
The 2004 National Gambling Act, section 45 (3) provides that all licensed casinos then operating in the Republic or province will remain in force subject to their license conditions. The effect of the aforegoing is that the fifth casino license awarded to the North West Province in the 1996 National Gambling Act were carried over into the 2004 Amendment Act. In the normal course of events the number of casino licenses awarded will not be affected, unless dealt with differently in terms of the 2004 Act. The operation of the North West Province’s fifth casino license which is Morula Sun, was in contravention with section 43 (3) as it continued to operate in Gauteng Province not the North West as allocated.
The former Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Rob Davies increased the maximum number of casino licenses that may be granted in South Africa from 40 to 41 with the additional license being allocated to the North West Province, as a once-off resolution adopted by the National Gambling Policy Council to provide redress to the North West after following the demarcation of provincial boundaries which resulted in the loss of Morula Sun Casino License falling under the Gauteng Province’s jurisdiction. This emanated from the fact that the North West Province was initially allocated five (5) casino licenses.
In its court application, the Casino Association of South Africa (CASA) had argued that the allocation of the fifth casino license will result in the proliferation of the gambling industry. This according to CASA will have far reaching ramifications for the industry’s economic prospects.
On 6 November 2019, the Constitutional Court considered this application for leave to appeal and concluded that this application be dismissed as it bears no reasonable prospects of success. The Board welcomes the Constitutional Court ruling as it will give impetus to the economic trajectory of the North West Province and will have a positive impact in the employment opportunities that will become available for the citizens of the Province.
Going forward, the Board will conduct a feasibility study which is planned to commence in the first quarter of 2022/23 financial year with the intention of identifying the most viable location for a casino. The dates for the commencement and completion of the project will be informed by the feasibility study, however, the Board estimates that the launch for the brand-new Casino will be around the last quarter of 2024/2025 financial year.