Cape Town - The decision to allocate additional gambling machines to two major slot operators in the Western Cape, without first advertising it, has been upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).
This comes after the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board in 2017 allocated an additional 500 gambling machines each to V-Slots and Grand Slots, in addition to 1 000 machines each as set out in a Request for Proposals (RFP).
Initially, in 2004, the board wanted to make available 3 000 machines to be allocated to three operators.
When only the two operators were successful, V-Slots and Grand Slots in 2017 made written submissions to the board to allocate to them the remaining 1 000 machines, which was granted.
Aggrieved by this, the Goldrush Group, a company specialising in the management of licensed operators in the gambling industry, that however did not exist at the time the RFP was published, had in 2019 legally challenged, in the Western Cape High Court, that the board was not entitled to allocate the remaining 1 000 machines to V-Slots and Grand Slots, without advertising it.
On appeal to the SCA, however, Judge Glenn Goosen noted that the board’s RFP had reserved the right to appoint fewer than three operators, and to allocate additional machines to them.
The board argued that its decision to appoint only two operators had been taken pursuant to a selection process with full public participation, and its decision to allocate the remaining machines to V-Slots and Grand Slots was within its power.
“In this case, there is no suggestion of fraud or irregularity,” Judge Goosen’s judgment read.
“There is equally no indication of administrative conduct which is manifestly objectionable. The process by which route operators were licensed complied with the statutory requirements.
“The RFP indicated that in the event that fewer than three operators were licensed the available LPMs (limited payout gambling machines) might be proportionally allocated to those appointed.
“It reserved the right to do so. When called upon to explain why it had allocated the remaining LPMs to the existing route operators, the board explained that it had acted in accordance with the RFP issued at the time that route operators were appointed.
“The board was not obliged to invite further applications for route operator licences.
“It did so in 2004 and decided then, as it was entitled to, to license only two route operators.
“There is no statutory requirement for the advertisement of available LPMs to be allocated to route operators.”
Goldrush yesterday said it could not respond by the Cape Argus’s deadline and therefore had no comment.
The Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board, V-Slots and Grand Slots had not responded to requests for comment by the time of publication on Monday.