Betting in Sun City

Published: 02/04/2013

Located in the North West Province of South Africa, Sun City is one of the world’s best known luxury casino resorts. It was developed in 1979 by hotel magnate Sol Kerzner as part of his Sun International group of properties and strategically located within easy driving distance (about two hours) from the country’s largest city, Johannesburg, and its administrative capital, Pretoria. The Elands River to the south and the Pilanesberg National Park Game Reserve to the north provide Sun City with spectacular natural surroundings, making it an escape destination for vacationers and day-trippers alike.

When Kerzner began constructing this unique “city,” it was not actually in South Africa. In those days, the area was called “Bophuthatswana,” which was an independent state declared by South Africa’s apartheid government. As such, entertainment activities banned in South Africa, such as gambling and topless revues, were legal. And to attract an international clientele as well as a strong domestic customer base, Kerzner staged world-class events at his “Superbowl Arena,” an auditorium seating 6,230.

Among the many big-name attractions that helped put Sun City on the map were performances by Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli, Dionne Warwick, Julio Iglesias and Rod Stewart, to name a few. Major boxing matches drew huge crowds, too, such as the 1980 bout between WBA World Heavyweight Champion Mike “Hercules” Weaver from the United States and South Africa’s own Gerrie Coetzee, who would later go on to claim the title for himself in 1983. And of course there was the singular opportunity to gamble in the only legitimate casino for thousands of miles.

Today, the Sun City Resort Casino Complex is massive. It includes five hotels with 1,535 guestrooms, ranging from the family-oriented Cabanas Hotel and the timeshare-style Sun City Vacation Club to the opulent 5-star-rated flagship of the resort, the Palace of the Lost City, and the lavish colonial-style Cascades Hotel with its beautiful surrounding gardens and a peaceful bird aviary.

Inside the 4-star Sun City Hotel are 340 pool and lake-facing rooms and suites on the edge of the world-famous Gary Player Golf Course. This hotel is also the location of the renowned Sun City Casino, divided into three themed sections—the Harlequin’s Smoking Casino, the Salon Privé and the International Room—with snacks and drinks available from the Sun Café.

The casino takes pride in its technologically-advanced slots, which currently number 601 units in total and are ready for action 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There are 38 table games on the gaming floor, too, including Baccarat, Blackjack, Blackjack Perfect Pairs, Craps, Raise’em Poker and Roulette. Cash desk facilities are available, and although play is denominated only in South African Rand, the on-site Bureau de Change accepts all major currencies. Players should note that a passport is required for all foreign exchange.

One special feature of the Sun City Casino is its “Free Gaming Lessons,” which may be booked through the duty manager or Pit Boss. All of the table games are covered to give newcomers a clear understanding of the rules and some practice before taking on the House for real. Note that table games are in operation only from 1pm till close, not 24/7.

Other facilities available at the Sun City Resort Casino Complex include 26 restaurants, ten bars, a sauna, squash courts, swimming pools, tennis and volleyball courts, a game arcade, mini golf, Kwena (Crocodile) Gardens, Waterworld Lake and the Lost City Golf Course. Safaris and searches for the “Big Five”—lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalos and leopards—can also be arranged.

It is worth noting that thanks to the success of Sun City, its parent company, Sun International, has bee able to extend its brand operations to resorts, luxury hotel products, and casinos across 27 destinations in eight countries. Among them are the GrandWest Casino in Cape Town, the Boardwalk Casino & Entertainment World in Summerstrand, Carnival City in Brakpan and the Carousel Casino in Hammanskraal, to name just a few.

Published on: 02/04/2013

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