CAPE TOWN Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI) and Grand Parade Investments are on the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board’s list of applicants for limited gambling machine operator licences. Five applicants appeared on the list published at the weekend. Two or three of these applications will be successful. HCI, the biggest shareholder in broadcaster, also has a stake in one of the slot-machine companies operating in Mpumalanga. Grand Parade Investments is the Western Cape empowerment group that partners Sun International SA in the GrandWest Casino and the Table Bay Hotel. According to the list, the five applicants are Gold Circle Cape Slots (which includes Western Province, Durban and Pietermaritzburg Turf Clubs); Las Vegas Games (Western Cape); Luck At It Western Cape (which includes Southern Africa Taverners Marketing/Fabcos Trust and Moneyline 139/Nafcoc Investment Holding Company); Thuo Gaming Western Cape (including Grand Parade Investments); and Vukani Gaming Western Cape (including HCI). While the issue of limited payout machine licences is a provincial competence, some doubts over the future of the fledgling industry have been raised at national level by a new draft of the National Gambling Bill. But in a recent statement Western Cape’s tourism and gambling minister said the provincial cabinet considered itself bound by the policy determinations made in 1997, which authorised the province to licence two or more slot machine operators for a maximum of up to 3000 machines. The province has since requested the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board to limit the number of licensed machines to 2100 and enforce strict criteria on licensed premises to avoid areas susceptible to problem gambling.

Source: Charlotte Mathews -Business Day