Casinos not coining it‚ only just keeping up with inflation
Limpopo is an increasingly profitable place for casinos, Mpumalanga is the toughest province and Gauteng still generates the most money for the industry.
These are some of the findings of the Survey of Casino Entertainment in SA 2016, which the Casino Association of SA (Casa) released on Wednesday.
The report shows that while gross gambling revenues are keeping the taxman happy‚ the industry is struggling to grow income in a tough economy.
Gross gambling revenues for 2015-16 were up 6.7% to R18.2bn from the previous year. Consumer inflation accelerated to 6.4% in October, according to Statistics SA data.
The survey found that the taxman was the largest winner during the period under review‚ collecting 36%‚ or R5.9bn‚ through various taxes and levies across local‚ provincial and national governments.
Casa represents all but two of SA’s 38 licensed casinos‚ which employ 64‚000 employees across their casinos‚ hotels‚ conference centres‚ restaurants and theatres. Casino employees received 20% of the value generated by Casa member casinos during the year‚ amounting to R3.4bn‚ the report said.
Gauteng topped the tables in terms of gross gambling revenues‚ accounting for 41% of the national gross gambling revenue.
KwaZulu-Natal’s gross gambling revenue followed at 19%‚ with the Western Cape (15%), North West (7%) and Eastern Cape (7%) rounding out the top five.
In terms of gross gambling revenue growth‚ however‚ Limpopo grew the most (29%) in 2015-16 compared with 2014-15‚ while Mpumalanga was the only province in which revenue fell — by 2%.
Casa members invested R2.4bn‚ or 13.2%, of their gross gambling revenues in capital expenditure at casino complexes.
The industry contributed more than R165m (up 9.4% from last year) in corporate social investment.
Casa CEO Themba Ngobese said that online gambling was posing a major challenge to the casino industry.
"Our biggest concern is where people operate online gambling. It’s a growing problem. They operate under the guise of internet cafes‚" he said.
Casa said: "Although revenue did increase‚ despite a negative economic outlook‚ this year’s survey also focused a spotlight on the increasing threat the industry faces due to illegal gambling‚ especially the growth of illegal online gambling. Not only does illegal gambling leave participants exposed to risks ranging from penalties to imprisonment‚ it also robs the economy of much needed tax revenue."
Online gambling in SA is illegal‚ and Ngobese said: "We’ve been asking the government to shut them down. The government can shut them down. We’ve even offered to assist the SAPS [South African Police Service] to shut them down."