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Friday Aug 16, 2013

Thousands objecting to Menlyn casino plan - lawyer

Thousands of objections to Sun International's application for its gambling licence to be transferred from Mabopane to Menlyn Maine will be dropped off at the Gauteng Gambling Board's offices today.

Teresa Conradie, of Motla Conradie Inc, said her law firm was acting on behalf of thousands of people opposed to a casino being part of a R3 billion entertainment development, Time Square at Menlyn Maine.

If the application is approved by the Gambling Board, the casino will have 3 000 slot machines and 100 gaming tables - making it bigger than the casinos at Montecasino and Emperors Palace.

In addition to the proposed casino, Time Square at Menlyn Maine would have a hotel, conference facility, theatre, restaurants and shops. Sun International said the development would take three years to complete.

However, not everyone is opposed to the development. Some people hope it will bring jobs and entertainment to the area. 'The people who object to the casino don't have to go. What about all the unemployed people who could get jobs. Wake up Pretoria,' Maureen Bellingan SMSed to the Pretoria News.

Brenda Mac added: 'Yes, it is about time Pretoria got this type of facility.'

Norma Dunbar said: 'It's about time Pretoria woke up. Other cities have them. It would boost the economy and job creation.'

Daavid SMSed: 'If you are gambler or just like to spend a few bucks to relax, you will do it, so the churches must rather treat the disease than the symptom.'

People who want to gamble will gamble was a general view expressed on the SMS line.

Other people using the SMS line were strongly opposed to the plan, citing the nearby high school and potential social problems, issues also highlighted by Conradie.

Conradie said her firm had been approached by churches and created a draft letter for people outlining a number of objections and leaving space for a person's own views.

'We have received around 4 000 objections,' she said yesterday.

The letter read: 'While I am in favour of positive family-focused development in our city and would support shops, restaurants, hotels and conference centres, I am concerned with the proposed inclusion of a casino in the Menlyn Maine development.'

The objectors say the casino will significantly affect the family-oriented community. 'The development of a casino at Menlyn Maine will make gambling too easily accessible to the community.'

Objectors are worried about the exploitation of those susceptible to addictive behaviours; the plight of the poorest citizens being worsened through the creation of unrealistic hopes; and gambling leading to addicts resorting to crime to finance their addiction.

Another objection reads: 'Gambling can undermine good work ethic as it is based on the premise of something for nothing.'

Pretoria News


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