Sun International, the leading South African casino and hospitality giant, will learn this weekend whether local gambling authorities will allow it to relocate its Morula Sun Casino from Mabopane to Pretoria East.
Sun International made an official request to the Gauteng Gambling Board to have the casino moved from Menlyn Maine to the new location due to revenue lost in the current area.
The group has proposed a new multi billion rand complex which will cost R3 billion to construct. If given the go-ahead, the Morula Sun will be completed within three years.
It is believed that the Gauteng Gambling Board will make its announcement this weekend. This was confirmed by Prince Mafojane, chairman on the board.
Mafojane said that the board would make its announcement "on our stance regarding the proposed removal of the casino."
He admitted that it was "a difficult case" and the board had to take some time in order to deliberate the request and ensure that the outcomes "will suit both parties."
There has been intense opposition to the relocation of the Morula Sun, especially by residents of Menlyn, Pretoria East who believe that the new complex would be located too near a church and school.
"It helps the unemployment, it helps to create jobs, it helps in terms of black economic empowerment," said Menlyn community representative, Michael Newman. "But again the social cost in the broader community, is it beneficial or not? Church leaders were unconvinced by Sun International's position."
A series of public meetings between interest parties were held throughout the year and it took the Gauteng Gambling Board longer than the average two weeks it usually takes to announce an outcome due to the complexity of the case.
In April this year, Sun International announced that it would be relocating the casino due to the inaccessibility for the public to the Mabopane township and stiff competition in the area.
"The operation will be significantly more profitable than where it is at Morula," said Sun International at the time. "Morula today is an old license and it's in a location now, which is very difficult to get to, and it's facing a lot of competition from lots of alternative gaming and it's going backwards as a consequence."