Tsogo Sun’s Casino Plans In Somerset West Disapproved By Locals
Tsogo Sun is the biggest casino operator in South Africa owning some of the most popular casino resorts in the country. Headland and Southern Sun which is a subsidiary of Tsogo Sunfiled a rezoning application recently to get permission to transform a portion of its Somerset West Golf Course and allocate that land to the development of a new casino resort.
There have been reports in the past about Tsogo Sun’s debt skyrocketing but that hasn’t stopped the casino operator from continuing its ambitious expansion plans. The operator plans to expand its presence into the Western Cape by allotting a portion of land from the Gold Course and using it to develop a casino resort.
The project if approved is expected to provide a significant boost for the local economy and create hundreds of temporary and full time jobs.
The casino resort is expected to employ around 650 permanent staff and indirectly create another 300 jobs for local businesses that will provide a variety of services to the casino, hotel and restaurants on the property.
Local Residents Not Happy With The Development
While Tsogo Sun looks to bring new jobs and a new tourist attraction to the community, locals from Helderberg community are unhappy with the decision to create a casino. There has been very little information circulated to the local community who are also upset at being kept in the dark by the administration.
In a statement, Stephen Leppan, chairperson of the Helderberg Residents Association (HRA) said
The community knows little about this. We don’t even know what we should comment about or object to. This has not been a fair process, and as far as I am concerned there has been no public participation on this project.
The HRA is not the only ones concerned about this potential casino. Pieter Human who submitted a thesis to University Stellenbosch on the social impact of Western Cape casinos said that the casino would bring more harm than good to the local community.
Human said that based on his research and studies the socio-economic impact that casinos will bring to the local economy were often inflated while the negative impact was often played down. He stated that if Tsogo Sun went on to open a new casino their major market would be the locals due to proximity and it will pull in significant sums of money that would otherwise be spent at local businesses.