Casino revamp on hold after licence uncertainty

Posted On Tuesday, 04 May 2010 02:00 Published by
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More than 5000 jobs on hold due to uncertainty over conditions for the gambling licence of the new-look Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment Complex in Port Elizabeth.

By Shaanaaz de Jager

More than 5000 jobs, which would have been a huge boost to the Eastern Cape economy, are on hold due to uncertainty over conditions for the gambling licence of the new-look Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment Complex in Port Elizabeth.

Even though Sun International announced last year that Emfuleni Resorts, operators of the Boardwalk, had been chosen as the “preferred bidder” by the Eastern Cape Gambling and Betting Board to renew its gambling licence for 15 years, the board has still not confirmed what the “final conditions” of the licence will be.

The billion-rand revamp was initially due to start in January this year and building of the hotel was due to start in July. It is now unlikely construction will start before the end of the year.

Plans for the complex include an international standard 3000m² convention centre, 135-room hotel, additional retail and festival areas, a parking garage, health spa and the conversion of the present conference centre into a smoking casino.

The Boardwalk’s chief executive, Clifford Ngakane, said “the Boardwalk was still in discussion with the Eastern Cape Gambling and Betting Board and expected the finalisation of the conditions of its new casino licence in the near future.

“A revised construction timetable will form part of the finalisation of the licence conditions, which will also be designed to minimise the interruption of operations during the 2010 World Cup period.”

Ngakane said the Boardwalk could not “commit to time-frames and the building programme”, whether in terms of when the project would start or how long it would take to complete. It was initially reported the project would take a year to finish.

Emfuleni Resorts chairman Bongiwe Siwisa said in a statement the Boardwalk was committed to using “as many local suppliers as possible”.

The East Cape Gambling and Betting Board refused to discuss the status of the gambling licence, with spokesman Monde Duma saying: “We don’t comment on operational issues of the board in the media.”

Source: The Herald


Publisher: I-Net Bridge
Source: I-Net Bridge

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