he Western Cape High Court declared clauses in the current gambling law null for a year while public comments for the proposed new gambling bill are being considered and a new policy is put in place.
Casino operator Tsogo Holdings had applied to the court for relief for the amendment of its Caledon and Mykonos casino licences so that these casinos would be permitted to operate in the Cape Metropole, Cape Times reports. In response to the enquiry, the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board said that it was not competent to consider an application for the relocation of casino operator licences in the Western Cape, with further aversions that the relief sought could lead to “cannibalism in the industry” as this would affect GrandWest Casino located in the metropole. “Furthermore, according to the board’s explanation, it is impermissible to apply for an amendment of a licence where the intention is to substitute one premises for another."
“The provincial government states that there is yet another reason why Tsogo Sun’s application must fail. It is that the WC Act does not currently permit the relocation of an existing casino operation from one location to another by means of an amendment of the conditions of the license. A fresh license, specifying the new premises, is required,” court documents read.
Premier Winde, a respondent in the high court matter, said the City would not be taking the matter on appeal. “I take note of the outcome in the matter on July 2, 2021, and that the judgment has declared the old Western Cape Gambling and Racing Policy Determinations (the policy) invalid, but which declaration of invalidity has been suspended for a year so that a new regulatory policy for gambling can be put in place."
“There is already a proposed new gambling bill that has been published for public comment and (for) which comments are now being considered and this judgment will no doubt be taken into consideration in the finalisation of that bill in due course. Obviously on the basis that after we have been able to consider it, we don’t decide to take it on appeal,” Winde said.
A public hearing was held last year regarding the Western Cape 19th Gambling and Racing Amendment Bill in which it was said that “that the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board is experiencing a shortfall in funding for the current year. As a result of the loss of exclusivity fees paid by casino and gambling machine operators, the board had become increasingly reliant on transfer payments from the Provincial Treasury which faced dire spending cuts. The amendments aimed to make sure that the regulator had an independent source of income to ensure that it was self-sufficient and that gambling was regulated appropriately.”