NIVEUS, which holds alternative gaming and liquor assets, is taking a flutter on an almost forgotten casino licence in South Africa.

In commentary accompanying its year to end-March results on Thursday, Niveus CEO Andre van der Veen said it had acquired a 60% interest in the Kuruman casino licence.

Construction had started and the casino would be operational in December. The move is surprising as Niveus’s controlling shareholder Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI) is the biggest shareholder in South Africa’s biggest casino owning company, Tsogo Sun Holdings.

Niveus was unbundled from HCI two years ago to house the alternative gaming assets — Limited Payout Machine operator Vukani, electronic bingo terminal operations, and liquor group KWV.

Market sources questioned the viability of the Kuruman casino, as none of the three big casino operators (Tsogo, Sun International and Peermont) wanted the property.

The licence was one of the last awarded in South Africa. Gaming board information dating back to 2007 shows it was originally awarded to Leithlo Resort and Entertainment World — owned jointly by black economic empowerment companies Meriting Investments and Calabash.

Aside from the casino investment, Niveus committed R186m to its core alternative gaming operations this financial year.

Mr van der Veen said the potential returns in alternative gaming remained attractive.

“Our plans for 2015 are to continue to invest in growth of these businesses.”

Source: BDLive – marc Hasenfuss