- South Africa’s North West province has four casinos, including the iconic Sun City and Rio.
- The province’s gambling board is now looking for its fifth and final casino.
- This comes after its last ‘final’ casino, the Morula Sun, was annexed to Gauteng in 2006.
- And the Constitutional Court recently dismissed challenges to prevent that fifth licence from being returned to the North West.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
South Africa’s North West province, home to the country’s best-known casino, Sun City, may soon have its fifth and final gambling hub.
The North West currently has four licensed casinos. The most well-known is Sun City, which has played host to music concerts, golf tournaments, and Miss World pageants. Sun City Casino has more than 800 slot machines and nearly 40 table games, together with five different types of holiday accommodation, and occupies a massive 1,500-hectare piece of land in the North West’s Moses Kotane Local Municipality.
But Sun City isn’t the only casino in the province, and it’s not the biggest.
That title belongs to the Rio hotel, casino, and convention resort – inspired by the carnival in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro – which can be found in Klerksdorp along the N12 in the North West province. The Rio, previously known as the Tusk Rio Casino Resort, has a total gaming space of 24,743 square metres, making it one of the biggest casinos in the world and the biggest on the African continent.
There’s also the Mmabatho Palms in Mahikeng and the embattled Carousel Casino on the border of the North West, where the province meets Gauteng and Limpopo.
The North West may soon have a fifth casino, equalling the amount held by the Western Cape. The North West’s total population is nearly half that of the Western Cape’s.
The North West Gambling Board, an entity of the province’s department of economic development, environment, conservation, and tourism, is, by law, entitled to issue five casino licences. With four of those licences already issued, the Board recently published an invitation to tender for a service provider to conduct a feasibility study for the fifth, and final, casino licence in the province.
This feasibility study will “assist and guide the Board in making an informed decision regarding the roll-out of the fifth casino licence” and includes identifying a “suitable location” within the province. The comprehensive feasibility study and analysis report must be produced, by the selected service provider, within three months.
The province’s interest in another casino is a relatively recent development, emanating from a Constitutional Court ruling in late 2019 that centred around the National Gambling Policy Council’s decision to grant the North West an additional licence.
This came after the province’s fifth licensed casino, the Morula Sun, was excised from the North West to Gauteng in 2006 as a result of changes to the demarcation of provincial boundaries.
The Board announced, in 2020, that it would conduct a feasibility study “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,” the North West Gambling Board said at the time.