Casino’s smoking section hits jackpot

Sun International raised the stakes this past week after opening a new gaming floor at Cape Town’s GrandWest Casino – now the largest gambling complex in the southern hemisphere.

Thursday’s launch of a 5000m² casino for smokers was part of a ZAR 450-million expansion programme, making the city’s „Granny“ – GrandWest managing director Graham Vass’s nickname for the casino – the most ambitious in the country.

The new floor will offer visitors another 1100 slot machines and 24 tables.

As the doors opened at 6pm on Thursday, eager punters rushed past sexy showgirls to grab seats at the new machines with names like King Kong Cash and Top Gun.

Sun International chairman Buddy Hawton, chief executive David Coutts-Trotter, and gaming operations director Garth Collins attended the opening of the smokers‘ casino, which boasts the largest underfloor air-conditioning and smoke extraction system in the world.

The system was invented by a South African engineering company.

The existing gaming floor became a non-smoking area, a move which SunWest chairman Hassen Adams said would be of added benefit to all GrandWest patrons.

New entertainment facilities have added 1800m² to the complex, including a Fast Food Court and a tenpin bowling alley, which is due to open in August.

Music lovers will relish the thought of the multi- purpose arena that opens in October, capable of seating up to 5000 people and with standing room for 7000.

In his speech, Adams said international stars like „Beyoncé and Santana“ would be performing at the venue.

„In keeping with the business philosophy we established eight years ago, the vast majority of the contracts awarded for this project found their way to Cape-based businesses, with 32% of all work in BEE (black economic empowerment) hands,“ Adams added.

Since GrandWest opened in December 2000, 31 million people have visited the property and 13 million cars have driven through the gates.

More than 1000 people work in the complex each day.