Billion Group’s Mayfair Casino opens in Mthatha – job boost for Eastern Cape

In a much-needed boost for the Border-Kei region and the Eastern Cape, South Africa’s newest world-class casino – Mayfair Casino – has opened its doors in Mthatha. Having broken ground late last year, Mayfair Casino has opened its doors to the public, creating hundreds of jobs and bolstering the economy of the Eastern Cape’s third-largest city while also bolstering its appeal to business and leisure travellers.

The entertainment centre, built by South Africa’s pre-eminent property development company, Billion Group, boasts Mthatha’s only licensed casino as well as top-tier conferencing facilities, bars and restaurants.

Having been in the pre-development phase two years, the project broke ground late last year. It forms the latest addition to Billion Group’s existing live-work-play precinct that already houses the successful 60,000 metres-square BT Ngebs City Shopping Centre – which opened in 2015, bringing leading brands to Mthatha for the first time – and the plush, four-star Mayfair Hotel, which opened in 2017.

It further continues Billion Group’s stated mission of bringing aspirational developments and world-class facilities and services to areas that would not otherwise have access to them.

“This project completes the vision we had for a world-class shopping and entertainment node in Mthatha,” said Billion Group CEO Sisa Ngebulana. “We are really excited to see this casino come to fruition.”

The 2,000 square metre facility is expected to have a significant impact on the local economy, with 200 permanent jobs created upon opening. 50 direct jobs have been created during the project’s construction phase, covering unskilled and fully skilled workers.

“It’s a fact that for every job you create, you create three indirect jobs. We are very proud to be bringing employment to this part of the Eastern Cape,” said Dewald van Staden, development director at Billion Group.

“It is our intention to employ as many locals as possible, and to manage the process of employing workers across all three categories where possible: skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled.”

Three upmarket restaurants within the new complex will span 700 square metres and offer a choice of a steakhouse, a buffet restaurant or Asian cuisine.

To accommodate both large and small conferencing needs, the casino’s modern conference facilities will cate for up to 275 people – an area which can be divided to create two smaller rooms and a private break-away area. The facilities will also feature a bar area and will have access to cuisine from the restaurants.

Boardwalk Hotel rated ‘Most Accessible’, wins Lilizela Award

The five-star Boardwalk Hotel has received yet another Lilizela Tourism Award, this time for mobility in accommodation. This accolade, which honours universal accessibility in accommodation, is given only to the establishment and MESE venue which facilitates and is most accessible to people with disabilities.

The award was presented to the Boardwalk by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa, which in 2010 incorporated Universal Accessibility (UA) grading criteria in its other quality grading criteria for the first time in its other quality grading criteria.

“We pride ourselves in the fact that we value and ensure that people with mobile and visual impairments are taken into consideration and given access to our top facilities and services at The Boardwalk, and year on year consistently look for ways to improve and make this accessibility even better,” says Nqobile Qupe, Marketing Manager of the Boardwalk.

The Lilizela Tourism Awards recognise and reward tourism players and businesses who work passionately and with pride to deliver a world class product and service and whose delivery grows South Africa’s global destination competitiveness. In 2016, The Boardwalk won a prestigious Lilizela Tourism Award for excellence in the five-star meetings, exhibitions and special events category. In 2015, The Boardwalk Hotel won a Lilizela Award for excellence in the five-star accommodation category.

“There is nobody more important to us than our guests,” says Mike van Vuuren, General Manager of the Boardwalk.  “The consumers of our services have helped us hone processes to make it easy and above all, enjoyable, for anyone to spend time at our hotel and leave having experienced the best there is to offer in the hospitality industry.”  He also expresses his gratitude to the public for raising their comments, concerns and suggestions, which are all taken into consideration when deciding on a winner for an award such as this, and of course for all the votes.

Qupe adds that the Lilizela Tourism Awards give people in the hospitality industry an opportunity – and a brilliant opportunity at that – to celebrate excellence, creativity and innovation.

“They give us all an opportunity to learn from each other and to strive to turn an already great industry into an industry that’s truly brilliant.”

With this award the Boardwalk is given national recognition which raises its profile in South Africa and around the world.

MonsterJam Poker Tour returns to Carnival City for Season 2

South Africa’s most exhilarating national poker tournament, the MonsterJam Poker Tour, returns for Season 2 in 2019. The tour kicks off at Carnival City in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng on 18 January 2019 and invites amateur poker players to pit their skills in a nationwide tournament to win substantial cash prizes and the chance to compete internationally.

In 2018, the MonsterJam Poker Tour stopped at five Sun International casinos, with a prize pool totalling almost R35-million. The 2019 edition will venture to seven Sun International casinos across South Africa with an estimated prize pool of more than R40-million.

Season 2 also features a tournament within a tournament, the Monster Million Accumulator, which also starts at Carnival City and will continue through each stop throughout the year. The Monster Million Accumulator guarantees a first prize of R1-million, which will be awarded after the last stop of the season at Time Square Casino in Pretoria.

Participating casinos in 2019 are Carnival City, Sun City, Sibaya, Boardwalk, Wild Coast, Time Square and Grand West. There will be various competitions taking place at each casino as part of the regional MonsterJam Poker tournaments, with a variety of buy-ins and structures to appeal to players of diverse ability, from novices to those keen to take their poker sporting ability to the next level in a credible, national competition. Buy-ins and structures will vary per casino and event. Season 2 will be live streamed from all stops, on Youtube, Facebook and Twitch (@MonsterJam Poker Tour)

Winners of all tournaments will be added to a leader board and ranking system, run by The Global Poker Index, with the ultimate winner taking the top accolade of MonsterJam Poker Tour Player of the Year and winning a trip to play poker internationally, and other prizes totalling a value of R500,000.

The winner of MonsterJam Poker Tour Season 1 Player of The Year was David Rosenthal.

Quanta acquires stake in Nigeria Lottery ILGL; world’s first deal to reform traditional lottery with blockchain

Quanta has announced that it has signed contracts to acquire a stake in International Lottery and Gaming Limited (ILGL), a Nigeria lottery giant, concluding the world’s first deal to see a blockchain company acquire a local lottery company.

“This acquisition declares an era when innovation takes over tradition, injecting the power of blockchain technology into the lottery business with the possibility to scale with cryptocurrency as a global financial instrument. We are confident that we can make blockchain lottery popular and this acquisition represents a significant base for Quanta to target other emerging markets in Africa,” said Kostas Farris, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Director of Quanta.

Commenting on behalf of ILGL, Charbel Saadeh, Managing Director of Naija Lottery said, “ILGL has provided popular and entertaining games to the Nigerian players; we are very excited to collaborate with Quanta. This is a historic moment to create an even more compelling experience to optimize lottery playing for the 200-million Nigerian market.”

The Nigeria lottery industry is a major source of wealth distribution in the country, while the role of cryptocurrencies continue to garner national-level attention.