Johannesburg - The R4 billion Time Square casino and hotel being developed by Sun International at Menlyn Maine in Pretoria is set to create thousands of new job opportunities and economic benefits to the city and the country.

Michael Farr, the group general manager of band and communications at Sun International, said yesterday about 10 000 direct and indirect jobs would have been created during the construction and initial fit-out and start-up phase.

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The casino will be the second largest in South Africa after GrandWest Casino in Cape Town, with 2 000 slot machines and 60 tables. It represents the biggest hospitality, gaming and leisure industry development since the construction of Sun International’s GrandWest Casino in 2000.

Construction of the Time Square casino and hotel development commenced in September 2013. The casino will open in April next year, the 8 000-seater entertainment arena in September next year and the hotel complex in March 2018.

Farr said about 1 230 direct permanent jobs were expected to be created when the casino opened, which included the jobs transferred from the Morula Sun to the north of Pretoria.

“About 2 200 permanent jobs will be created, including those people and other permanent jobs that were created by the various service providers and concessionaires that opened businesses at Time Square,” he said.

Farr added that Sun International had made a commitment to absorb all the staff from the Morula Sun when the casino licence was transferred to Menlyn Maine. The Morula Sun has a staff complement of about 600 people.

However, Farr said some of the employees at the Morula Sun might decide to stay at the facility, which would need to be staffed because it would still provide hotel accommodation.

Bingo facility

Farr said the Morula Sun would from April next year also have an electronic bingo facility and be home to the Morula International Hotel and Gaming School.

“This will be the first and only formally accredited and internationally affiliated hotel and gaming academy in southern Africa. Students will be able to get certified hospitality, gaming and tourism management training in the form of either a certificate, diploma, degree or post graduate degrees or participate in a management executive programme,” he said.

Apart from the jobs created by the Time Square development, Farr said it was anticipated that about R1.7 billion in gaming taxes and VAT would be generated in the first five years of operation at Menlyn Maine.

“The total estimated revenue to government from the project over a five-year period is estimated at about R2.7bn,” he said.

Time Square will also offer a new concept in hospitality by offering a range of hotel accommodation in a single building. “It will be a four to five-star hotel, but offer 96 rooms at a three-star grading, 94 rooms at a four-star grading and 48 rooms and suites at a five-star grading.

“I’m not aware of any hotel in South Africa that does that within a single structure. It means that somebody buying three-star room will be able to get the price point relative to that grading but in a hotel somewhere between a four and five hotel. They will enjoy premium luxury facilities but can choose a grade of room,” he said.

The Sun International casino and hotel development will become a focal point of the Menlyn Maine precinct, which also includes the R1.8bn Central Square that officially opened in September.

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