Land-based casinos and resorts have been struggling. The world health crisis has had a devastating impact, and Sun International has not escaped the challenge. Though the company has reported that recovery is underway, with a 39% increase in reported revenue. The total amount comes to an impressive R1.5 billion. Even still, this number is well below where it was prior to the world health crisis. The biggest impact has come from restrictions posed on South African gamblers.
In answer to the situation, Sun International has now hinted that it will be looking at offering online gambling. The fact is that Sun International has incurred a loss of R56 million over the course of 2021.
The company made an announcement, saying that leisure travel has improved dramatically. Though the announcement continued that other important segments, including exhibitions and conventions, have remained weak. In a bid to manage costs, some beverage outlets have even remained closed.
The Online Solution
Internet penetration in South Africa has exploded. This in turn has fuelled online gambling in South Africa. SunBet, the digital arm of Sun International, has seen rapid growth even as the resort has suffered. A spokesperson explained that there has been a dramatic increase in digital revenue, with a strong focus on mid to high-end customers.
The spokesperson stressed that things are getting back to normal in the resort, with January and February 2022 suggesting that South Africans are again willing to travel. The spokesperson added the fifth wave of infections could still undo the recovery up until this point.
Looking at SunBet paints a very different picture. New player sign-up has increased by a staggering 41%, with generated revenue up a massive 78%.
Fighting Back Debt
The distressing truth is that Sun International currently holds a debt of R7 billion. The amount has only climbed higher as the world health crisis took hold, painting a grim picture of the company’s future. Though online gambling could be the exact lifesaver needed to keep things afloat until the world returns to normal.
The divisions in Nigeria and Chile have also struggled, but also managed to stay afloat for the time being. There is no word yet on when the organization will be leaning into iGaming. However, chances are that the push will be sooner rather than later. No doubt Africa as a whole will be watching to see how the iconic organization manages the coming months.