Chasing the Sun: Time Square opens in Pretoria

Chasing the Sun: Time Square opens in Pretoria

Tuesday, April 4, 2017 Posted by James Walker

After nearly four years in the making, Sun International’s latest casino resort, Time Square, has opened in Tshwane, eastern Pretoria. The grand opening on 1 April featured a large-scale pyrotechnic display, live music and ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Pegged as ‘Gauteng’s Ultimate Casino Destination’, Time Square has immediately been elevated to the position of Africa’s second-largest casino and entertainment destination – behind GrandWest – with 2,000 slot machines and 60 tables spanning two floors.

Part of the new Menlyn Maine precinct in Pretoria, the 24-hour venue has been positioned to offer guests a premium gaming experience with world-class facilities. The opening of the ZAR3 billion ($220 million) casino marks the successful transfer of Sun International’s Gauteng gaming licence from its former facility in Morula, north of the city.

Guests to the casino have a variety of games to choose from. On the ground floor in the slots area, players can try their luck on slot machines including IGT’s Bejeweled, Crystal Dual, Plants vs. Zombies and Zuma titles.

The tables section, meanwhile, features popular favourites such as blackjack, baccarat, poker and roulette. Time Square also includes four private gaming lounges.

“About 10,000 direct and indirect jobs will have been created during the construction and the initial fit-out and start-up phase,” said Michael Farr, group general manager of brand and communications. “The development will also generate considerable revenue for both provincial and national government by way of taxes and gaming levies.”

The opening of Sun International’s latest casino came just days after the group posted its financial results for the second half of 2016. While revenues for the group grew 31% to ZAR7.7 billion ($567 million) – due primarily to the inclusion of South American operator Dreams SA and GPI Slots – sluggish market conditions in South Africa resulted in headline earnings dipping 35% year-on-year to ZAR233 million ($17.2 million).

“Prevailing economic conditions negatively impacted the group’s core casino operations in South Africa, with casino revenue down 2.7% on the back of a weaker than expected December trading period,” the company said in its earnings statement. “South African revenue continued to be impacted by difficult trading conditions and reduced consumer spend.”

Looking ahead, Sun International’s chief executive Anthony Leeming said Time Square will play a crucial role in helping to bolster the group’s domestic operations. “We expect gaming revenue in South Africa to remain under pressure given economic conditions,” he stated. “However, we do anticipate hotel occupancy to grow for the remainder of the year. Time Square will be key to our portfolio and to our growth in South Africa.”

Totally Gaming says: Sun International’s global ambition has been widely reported over recent months, particularly following the merger of its Latin American operations with those of rival operator, Dreams SA. Across the Atlantic, however, the recent opening of Time Square will reassure both investors and patrons that the group is not losing sight of its domestic market – regardless of the trading conditions.

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