Also considering sale of casinos in Panama and Colombia
It comes as no surprise to read in the report published by Reuters that Sun Dreams is considering selling its casinos in Panama and Colombia. In the report Anthony Leeming – CEO of South Africa’s Sun International, major shareholder in Sun Dreams – is quoted as saying, “We are not achieving the anticipated returns and so are looking to reduce properties.” Leeming was referring to the properties at Ocean Sun Casino, located in Trump Tower, in Panama and the Sun Nao Casino, located on the second floor of a Commercial Centre in Bocagrande, a district of Cartagena in Colombia.
Having direct knowledge of Sun International operations and the gaming markets in Panama and Colombia, it always seemed a risky investment to place a tables and slots operation, restaurants and suites in Panama’s Trump Towers between ground level and 68 floors and expect to attract sufficient high-level players to sustain such a luxurious property. In a stroke of bad luck for Sun International, a few months after opening their casino the Panamanian government also decided to impose a gaming tax payable by gamblers, which has adversely affected the whole gaming industry in the country.
The operation in Cartagena, near market leader Rio Casino boasting an imperious view of the busiest tourist road in the Caribbean city, was always going to battle hard to bring the limited and fickle local clientele into the Sun Nao commercial centre location, particularly the ever scarcer quality players in the Colombian market.
The partnership between the Chilean company Dreams and the Sun International properties in Latin America brought together under the name Sun Dreams the casinos in Panama, Colombia and the Monticello Gran Casino, revenue leader in Chile, whilst Dreams contributed an important collection of businesses in various countries, including 6,500 gaming machines, 300 gaming tables, 6 hotels and 25 restaurants.
The article in Reuters also reports that Sun Dreams is finalising the acquisition of Thunderbird Resorts’ four operations in Peru for US$27 million. Without question the gaming market in Peru is more mature and has better gambling regulations but Thunderbird’s Fiesta Casino across the road from the magnificent Atlantic City Casino in Miraflores, which will be adding a 5-star hotel to the property, has already lost various battles against what is one of the most successful casinos in the region. One assumes that under the Sun Dreams flag the property might do better, although only time will tell.
Accessing the Sun International website confirms that the South African company is the major shareholder in Sun Dreams S.A. following the acquisition of a further 19.3% of shares, which raises its participation to 64.9%.
At present Sun Dreams is in the process of bidding for two municipal casinos in Chile whilst pushing for other licences in the new municipal casino process begun in the country for a total seven licences. It looks like company’s intention is to diversify and expand its activities in Latin America, irrespective of the sales in Colombia and Panama. (S-10.09.17)