The “must-see, must-do” resort is envisaged to include a casino, hotel, conference facility, restaurants, crèche and landscaped gardens. The particular theme and design of the resort will, however, only emerge once applications have been processed.
According to Mabutho Zwane, CEO of the ECGBB, the resort will be situated in Zone 4 which covers the Magisterial District of Elliot, Elliotdale, Engcobo, Libode, Maclear, Mqanduli, Nqgeleni, Port St John’s, Qumbu, Tsolo and Mthatha.
The casino will be the fifth in the province and will follow in the footsteps of hugely successful ventures in Mbizana (Wild Coast Sun), Queenstown (Queen’s Casino), East London (Hemingway’s Casino Resort) and Port Elizabeth, (Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World).
“These casinos have proven their worth in contributing significantly to the economic activity of the province,” says Zwane.
“And it is not all about gambling tax revenue – they do their bit with substantial corporate social investments, job creation and general stimulation of economic activity.
“Property prices around casinos have increased significantly, in some cases by a million rand.”
The casino licence, once awarded, will be for a fixed period of 20 years and, should the successful applicant be willing to pay the necessary fee, the licence will be exclusive.
“We are committed to a speedy evaluation process.
“We have processes in place to ensure the successful application abides by the letter of the Gambling Act.”
According to Zwane, this includes the publishing of the application for interested parties to respond, a site inspection, public hearings and finally an adjudication process.
The entire process is envisaged to take about five months.
The applicant will also need to ensure that a minimum of 40% of the total shareholding consists of black local inhabitants, at least 25% of which needs to be women, youths (over 18 years) and disabled persons (which equates to an effective 10% of the entire 100% shareholding).
Recent research conducted by the ECGBB showed that 39% of the Eastern Cape population can be considered regular gamblers (gambling at least once every three months).
“Participation in gambling modes other than the lottery is undertaken by those who have limited access to the LOTTO, generally because they live in rural areas.
“Oft en these are young people who mostly play informal dice games.
“We are therefore happy to bring to Zone 4 not only a uniquely themed experience, but also the controlled gambling environment that a casino offers. Add to this the economic benefits that a casino brings to the region, and you have a very tantalising offering indeed,” Zwane said.
Zwane said that in addition to giving the five million casino visitors access to entertainment of an international standard in the last financial year, the establishments have funded major infrastructure in the form of hotels and roads.
The current four casinos have in total invested in infrastructure to the value of close to R3 billion.
“The casinos in both Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and Buffalo City brought about major regeneration in their local areas.
There has also been considerable spending on corporate social investment of various types. Incomes have been generated, jobs created and a tourist attraction has been established in Port Elizabeth,” he said.
The casinos contribute at least R120 million to the province’s GDP as gross revenue per month. In the 2011/12 financial year, the industry employed 1 937 people and contributed to local economic development through concessions to local companies.
The gambling industry is making significant corporate social investment with expenditure covering a wide range of initiatives, such as HIV/Aids interventions, poverty alleviation, support for education and promotion of arts and culture.
The draft request for proposal (RFP) has been available for collection at the board’s offices in East London since May 27.
The purpose of issuing the draft request for proposal is to invite written comments from all interested groupings and persons before the final RFP is issued. The final RFP will be made available on a date to be announced.
A bidder’s conference will be held on July 26 at the board’s offices to consider issues raised in written comments, and to clarify matters bidders may raise and to answer any questions. Written comments on the draft request for proposal must be submitted before 3pm on July 10.