Sun International, South African’s largest gaming conglomerate, is preparing for the imminent opening of the new Time Square casino in Menlyn Park Shopping Center in Pretoria. The group believes that the R4 billion project, due to open its doors on April 1st, will become a flagship operation in South Africa, and that it will attract punters from South Africa and abroad.
It has been a long process to finally reach this point for Sun International. The group had to secure permission from the Gauteng Gambling Board to move its gambling license from the Mabopane-based Morula Casino to Menlyn Park in Tshwane. After a failed attempt to acquire its rival Peermont in order to secure a second Gauteng license (which cost Sun International a break fee of R675 million for the failed merger), the license was finally granted.
According to the outgoing CEO of Sun International, Graeme Stephens, the opening of Time Square will be a triumph, considering the many obstacles they experienced.
“Nelson Mandela has been quoted as saying that ‘it always seems impossible until its done’, and there were times when this project seemed impossible,” said Stephens.
The CEO also revealed that he had actually given the go ahead to break ground for the new casino before all the necessary approvals went through.
“The current pipeline of strategic opportunities in that region has been established, with the executive team in LatAm directly responsible for implementation,” added the chairman.
“It could have had some serious consequences for me had it gone wrong,” he said.
Stephens is set to leave to take on the role of CEO of the New Zealand Skycity Entertainment Group. He was approached by the group around a year and a half ago, but he said he would only take the job when the Time Square project was complete. SkyCity offered to wait for Stephens, and he is set to join the team in New Zealand at the end of April this year.
Recently, journalists and other guests were given a sneak peak of the new casino.
Several interesting facts about Time Square were revealed: • The casino will boast 2,000 slot machines and 60 gaming tables. • The casino will be divided into four different sections, with a casino floor spanning 7,530 square meters on two levels. • The roof will span 85 m at its widest point and cover over 10,000 square meters. • The new complex’s manager, Bianco Marini has 25 years’ experience in the gaming industry.