The Sun Time Square Casino in Menlyn east of the Pretoria city centre "is trading behind expectations" its owner Sun International said in a trading update it released to the market late on Friday afternoon.
"As a result of disappointing trading and a high interest charge, Sun Time Square has incurred a significant loss before tax," it said, without providing a rand amount.
Between its opening on 1 April 2017 and the end of that year the casino had booked R827 million in revenues, Sun said, and its share of gambling in the Gauteng province is around 13%.
But it is "trading behind expectations".
The company borrowed heavily to build Sun Time Square right in the commercial heart of Menlyn, a high-income neighbourhood. It is due to spend another R230 million on the complex in 2018.
Sun Time Square was set up as a transplant of the casino licence under which Sun International operated the Morula Sun, 50 kilometres north of Menlyn.
The transplant was fraught. A community group of thousands, and organisations such as churches, objected vociferously to having a casino in Menlyn. Two gambling competitors, Peermont and Goldrush, went to court to object to the new casino. Once construction was underway, locals protested about a lack of local job creation.
At times, Sun International would later say, it seemed impossible.
But it was finally completed – in part on the back of promises that it was a sure-fire winner.
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