South Africa is the dominant market on the African continent. South Africa has had a decade of impressive growth in its gaming sector, slowing only in the last few years. Elsewhere in Africa, however, there is a number of other emerging markets attracting the interest of parties in Macau. Macau knows casinos and the results could be dramatic if it can work its magic in Africa’ emerging gaming markets too.
In its Global Gambling Report titled Betting on Regulation, GBGC calculates that gross gaming yield (GGY) from casinos in Africa amounted to US$ 2.87 billion in 2010. Based on the current timetable of new properties opening and prospects for the region’ economies, GBGC forecasts that Africa’ casinos will have gross gaming yield of US$ 4.18 billion by 2015. Despite some strong growth over the last decade, Africa’ casinos still only represent 2.35% of the global casino market, as measured by GGY.
In Angola, there are four casinos in the capital Luanda, and one in Lubango. All the casinos in Luanda are part of hotels: Hotel Marinha, Hotel Panorama, and Hotel Tivoli. These casinos mostly cater for business clients staying the hotels.
In 2008, the construction of a new hotel, The InterContinental, began and it is believed will include a casino upon completion in 2014. The casino is being built by a consortium of Sonangol and Suninvest Group. It was assumed that the country’ existing casino operator, Plurijogos, would also operate the new casino. But in October 2009 it was reported that Stanley Ho, Macau’ gambling mogul, would be running the casino in partnership with local businesswoman Isabel dos Santos. Dos Santos is the eldest daughter of the Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos.
The Ho – dos Santos partnership is also believed to be interested in operating the new casino at the Gika Complex being developed in Luanda. The Gika casino is being developed by Casinos de Angola for US$35m. The casino will have 6,500 square metres over four floors, two restaurants and a stage, and will bring 500 new jobs. It is part of a $55m investment by Casinos de Angola to develop tourism and promote the Angolan gaming and entertainment to be implemented by 2013.
In 2009 Casinos de Angola opened the new Olimpia casino worth US$5m with 70 slot machines and eight tables in the town of Lubango.
Additionally, the Tivoli casino in Luanda was refurbished at a cost of US$6m and re-opened in June 2010 with 24 slots machines and 12 gambling tables. In July 2011, Casinos de Angola was scheduled to open a new casino in Viana worth US$2.5m, with a gaming area of 462 square metres. The casino is expected to create 250 new jobs when fully operational.
There were big plans a few years ago for the Cape Verde islands, which lie in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Western Africa.
Cape Verde has developed close ties with China and Chinese companies started exporting goods and realising smaller scale non-gaming investments on the island in the 1990s. Back in 2004, the prime minister of Cape Verde stated that the country’ goal was to attract large scale tourist developments and casino resorts. Tourism is regarded as a target investment segment on the island.
The island caught the attention of Macau’ millionaires such as David Chow who announced the creation of a massive US$100m entertainment complex on the island. The complex plans also included a casino and was to be completed in late 2009. But in November 2010 David Chow announced he had given up the plan to build the resort on the island. Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho also wanted to develop a hotel-casino project on an islet near the capital of Praia, but the project was rejected by the authorities due to unsuitable location. As Cape Verde and Macau are both former Portuguese colonies, it is not that surprising for Cape Verde to have ties with Macau.
The uncertain state of gambling regulation in Cape Verde deterred investors from committing to projects but in June 2011, the Government enacted new gambling laws, loosening the prohibitive regulation, especially in regard to concession fees. Five of the ten Cape Verdean islands – Santiago, S√£o Vicente, Sal, Boavista, and Maio – are designated as permanent gambling areas, with the possibility of a temporary spread to the other parts of the jurisdiction. Gaming venues have to be allocated in four or five-star hotels or in dedicated casinos.
The new regulation could finally see some of the ideas get underway in the coming years.
There are a few casinos in Mozambique, including the Polana Casino in the capital Maputo. In September 2011 it was reported that a group of Macanese entrepreneurs based in South Africa were interested in establishing a casino near Maputo. The site of the proposed casino will be at the new location of the Maputo International Trade Fair (FACIM).
In December 2008, and after a few delays, Rwanda finally witnessed the grand opening of its first casino. Casino Kigali, located in Top Tower Hotel in the capital Kigali features seven gaming tables and 30 gaming machines. The casino is a project by Casino Games Rwanda, a subsidiary of Casino Games Africa. The project was backed by a Russian group Metelitsa which is active in the Russian leisure sector.
As there are currently no laws which regulate either the casino or any other type of gambling, it is unclear what licensing and tax procedures are applied specifically to the gaming industry. It has been said however, that the casino will be taxed at the rate of 15% on GGY and an additional 28% in corporation tax. There will be no additional taxes on tables and machines.
Currently, there are eight casinos in Tanzania, seven of them in the capital Dar es Salaam. Probably the best known, and one of the most popular ones, is the Kilimanjaro casino, which is part of the Kempinski Hotel in Dar es Salaam.
KaiRo International operates two casinos in the country. The New Africa Hotel and Casino in Dar es Salaam opened in 1997 and was the first casino in Africa opened by the group. It is regarded as the top casino in the country. The casino has eight gaming tables and around 80 gaming machines. In partnership with the UK-listed bookmaker Ladbrokes, the casino has a separate room, a Ladbrokes lounge, where it is possible to place sports bets using online sports betting booths.
The group’ other casino, Safari Casino, is located in Arusha and it is the only casino in Tanzania outside the capital Dar es Salaam. Aside from Tanzania, the KaiRo Group also operates in Malawi and Ghana.
The Las Vegas Casino in Dar es Salaam has recently installed PokerPro tables in its property. It is the first casino in Tanzania to take the PokerPro automated poker tables.
Tanzania is in the very early stages of drafting online gambling regulation. The reason it is being considered is an appreciation that technology has moved on that the government might find a new source of revenues. Early indications are that there will be a specific number of issues licensed in a competitive market rather than a monopoly. GBGC has already received enquiries from casino groups in Tanzania about launching online operations.