Tsogo Sun Gaming has received approval to purchase the Emerald Hotel Resort and Casino, after the question was cleared with the South African Competition Tribunal last week. The permission to add Emerald Casino to its portfolio which includes Gold Reef City and Montecasino did not come without restrictions, however.
According to a spokesperson for the tribunal, Gillian de Gouveia, conditions relating to employment, local procurement and investment-related issues were imposed on the purchasing consortium – known as Newco - led by Tsogo Gaming.
No employees at the Emerald Casino may be retrenched within the next two years (24 months), starting from the date of the merger approval.
If new positions open up at the casino within these two years, the consortium will give priority to former employees of the Emerald who lost their jobs last year. This, as long as their skills are suitable and/or relevant for the position.
Tsogo Sun will do its best to procure goods and services from local suppliers in the area of Emerald Casino (as long as they meet the standards required by the group).
The new owners will invest in Emerald Casino’s business operations for at least five years.
Tsogo Sun commits not to relocate the casino license to another site in Gauteng for at least five years.
The Competition Tribunal put a lot of effort into probing the proposed multimillion rand acquisition before it gave the green light to Newco.
Concerns had been raised over the fact that after the acquisition, Tsogo Sun would own four out of the seven casino licenses in Gauteng, impacting competition in the market. The concerns were raised by the Competition Commission, which referred the transaction to the Tribunal, suggesting that it be approved with conditions.
The Competition Commission explained why it had approved the proposal, saying: “We believe that the transaction does not raise substantial competition issues.”
Even before restrictions were placed on Tsogo Sun by the Competition Tribunal, a spokesperson on behalf of Newco said that there was “no intention to relocate” the casino license.
“It’s a very expensive, cumbersome and difficult regulatory process and we don’t intend to do that,” he said.
Tsogo Sun Gaming holds the licenses for MonteCasino, Gold Reef City and Silver Star casinos.
It also runs 23 Galaxy Bingo sites around the country, while its VSlots operate in all nine provinces.