7 December 2016 The Casino Association of South Africa (“CASA”), which represents the interests of 36 of South Africa’s 38 licenced casinos, recently released its much-anticipated annual Survey of Casino Entertainment in South Africa. Now in its eleventh year, the survey provides an overview of the local casino industry, including its continued commitment to corporate responsibility. This year’s survey showed that CASA members pledged R70 million towards education related initiatives in 2016. This figure was up more than a quarter when compared with the previous year, highlighting the industry’s determination to remain relevant and responsive in the face of the challenges currently facing our education sector.
Since gambling became legal in 1995, the local casino industry has seen steady growth. The industry continued to grow in the year 2015/16, despite the current negative economic outlook, with CASA members showing a 7.4% increase in value generated, totalling R16.5 billion. Much of the industry’s success lies in its commitment to working together with government and regulators, as well as in uplifting the communities in which it operates.
Corporate Social Investment (CSI) has always been a priority for CASA members, who have collectively spent over R667 million on CSI initiatives during the past five years. Commenting on CSI spend for 2016, CASA CEO, Adv. Themba Ngobese, said, “Corporate social investment contributions by members increased by 9.4% or R14 million, bringing the total spend to R165 million. This investment reinforces the industry’s deep commitment to uplifting communities and addressing the country’s social challenges.”
With CSI contributions accounting for 1% of CASA members’ Gross Gambling Revenue, members take a strategic approach to how CSI budgets are allocated, focusing primarily on building and maintaining partnerships with civil society and local communities. Collectively, CASA members support education, skills development, sports development, community upliftment, environmental sustainability and healthcare initiatives.
Pleas for affordable education have been making national headlines for some time now, and this was reflected in CSI spending in the 2015/16 year. Investment in education saw a dramatic 26% increase, with R70 million being invested in bursaries and education initiatives targeting both basic and tertiary education. Employees also benefitted from the bump in education spending, receiving in-house training conducted by casino operators.
Community development received R35 million, directly mainly towards the upgrading of infrastructure, housing and schools, as well as conservation and community trusts.
As always, healthcare featured prominently in CASA members’ CSI programmes, receiving R23 million. Member initiatives included employee wellness programmes, HIV/Aids training and awareness, a partnership with CANSA, as well as counselling support.
The National Responsible Gambling Programme (NRGP) also received over R17 million from CASA members in 2016. The NRGP is tasked with encouraging responsible gambling behaviour and offering free support and counselling to problem gamblers. The programme is recognised globally for its work, which is largely funded by the casino industry itself.
As part of the entertainment industry, CASA members also enthusiastically showed their support for sports, arts and culture, spending almost R11 million on academies, festivals, museums and sporting tournaments that facilitate nation building and social cohesion.
To access the full Survey of Casino Entertainment in South Africa, 2016, visit the Casino Association of South Africa’s website at www.casasa.org.za.