Tsogo Sun Gaming says its debt increased to R12bn during lockdown

  • Tsogo Sun Gaming says it lost around R2 billion in revenue.
  • The loss increased its debt to R12 billion.
  • Casino goers can expect a completely new experience with vigorous measures set to be put in place.

Tsogo Sun Gaming, one of South Africa's biggest casino operators, has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement on the reopening of casinos, saying it had lost billions in revenue since the start of the national lockdown.

The CEO of Tsogo Sun Gaming, Chris du Toit, said it was "delighted that the government has considered the comprehensive submissions we have made to the Department of Trade and Industry".

According to him, the gaming and entertainment group, which is made up of 13 casinos, 21 Galaxy Bingo sites and VSlots operations, released its annual results on 9 June "which indicate the severe impact on the business".

"The Covid-19 lockdown has caused devastation of the business as a result of not being able to trade, with an estimated R2 billion in revenue, and debt increased to R12 billion since year-end."

Du Toit said the group's 10 000 employees, service providers, suppliers and various other stakeholders have been "negatively impacted, and the restrictive trading conditions, which are expected to be announced within the next few days, will be challenging".

"The business is ready, with a robust strategy of enhanced hygiene and safety measures to enable a seamless reopening to our loyal customers."

He added despite the reopening, there would still be "tough times ahead due to the restrictive conditions that will come with reopening".

What changes will casinos have during the reopening?

Elaborating on the strategy of enhanced hygiene and safety measures, Du Toit said prior to the announcement of the lockdown, it had implemented extensive hygiene and safety protocols.

"These have been adjusted over the last two months as new information about the spread of the virus has unfolded. We are following all the government-gazetted hygiene and safety protocols, which includes strict social distancing of 1.5m as well as sanitising stations with medical grade sanitisers at entrances and in public areas."

Du Toit said there would also be screening through temperature checks and questionnaires, frequent cleaning throughout the day in accordance with government regulations and enforcing the use of masks.

"Staff will arrive one hour prior to their shift and go through rigorous health checks which include the taking of temperatures and mandatory questions regarding their current state of health."

He added the casino experience would change once they officially reopened.

"[It] requires a new vigilance for the safety of our guests and staff. Throughout the lockdown, we have been working on ensuring that every possible measure is taken to comply with government regulations and to apply all the tools at our disposal to provide our guests with a safe place to be entertained," Du Toit said.

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