Cape Town Rules out Turning Stadium into Casino
Despite its attractive location and huge potential to lure tourists and locals alike, Cape Town has said that it will not turn its stadium into a casino. Proposals have been put forward to try and keep the loss-making stadium operating, but until now, none of them have been acceptable to city authorities.
The Cape Town Stadium, which generates between R12 million and R15 million a year, costs around four times that much to keep going. As such, the city and ratepayers are keen to weigh the options put forward in a series of talks around the city. One of ideas brought up again is to construct a casino in the area of the stadium and turn it into an entertainment complex.
However, Geoff Underwood of Planning Partners has shot down the idea of a casino, saying that there are many laws governing gambling in Cape Town and South Africa that need to be followed to the tee.
“There is no proposal to put a casino in the stadium. If anybody comes up with any proposal, it would have to follow national law in terms of casino licensing,” Underwood said.
Speaking at the first of eight hearings held in the Mother City to determine the future of the stadium, Underwood said that “the harsh reality is that this stadium is costing you and I as the ratepayers.”
Those attending the meeting were told that the demolition of the stadium is not an option.
Analysts agree that that are two ways to make the Cape Town Stadium economically viable. The first is through commercialization of the location (such as building a casino), and the second is the development of Granger Bay Boulevard in the area next to the stadium.
There are around 20,000 square meters available for commercial possibilities in the stadium, with the option to expand seating from 55,000 to 62,000.
The idea of building a casino in the Cape Town Stadium is not a new one, with reports last year that there had been “discussions” between ratepayers and casino operators. The idea of a casino emerged during an interview on CapeTalk radio program with the V&A Waterfront’s chief executive David Green.
In 2007, the Mail & Guardian reported that Gold Reef Resorts offered to make up the projected R600 million shortfall of the required budget to build the stadium in time for the 2010 World Cup, in return for casino facilities of the stadium. Nothing materialized from both ideas.