The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the gaming and hospitality sector in South Africa, with Sun International, the largest casino operator in the country, facing significant losses. Revenues for the company were nearly halved in the past year, resulting in a loss of nearly $75 million and a reduction in the workforce by over 2,000 employees.
This adverse scenario was compounded by the challenges posed by the new variant of COVID-19 that is prevalent in South Africa and has been shown to evade some of the vaccines. CEO Anthony Leeming acknowledged the measures taken by the company to mitigate the impact of government restrictions, including reducing hours for a portion of the workforce, closing two properties, and restructuring the business to optimize costs.
Despite these efforts, Leeming recognized that international demand remains low, and the company’s focus will be on local leisure business and reducing costs, with prices for consumers likely to remain low. Nevertheless, Leeming believes that these operational initiatives will help the company weather the current challenges posed by the pandemic and position it for growth in the future.