South African company Sun International has opened its first casino in Colombia called Nao Sun Casino.
The casino located in tourist hotspot Cartagena cost US$30m to build.
Robert Brassai, General Manager of Sun International for Panama and Colombia says that the company hopes to recoup the investment within five years and “wanted to enter the Colombia market because it is one of the largest countries in the region that is constantly growing and Cartagena was our choice because of its location and its tourism infrastructure.”
The casino has an area of 3,200 square meters, houses 220 machines, 16 table games, and a VIP lounge for players. It also has a restaurant, a terrace with views of the ocean and has a capacity for 800 people.
The new casino will generate 180 direct jobs and the company plans a wider expansion in Colombia. According to Mr. Brassai, the company is also considering Bogota, Medellin and Barranquilla as possible future sites.
Located on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, Cartagena is experiencing a boom in investment driven by tourism. In 2014 almost 2.9m tourists visited the city and 17 major new hotels are expected to open there by the end of this year.
Indeed Colombia is looking to be an increasingly bright spot for the gaming industry as tourism continues to grow. Around four million people travelled to Colombia in 2014 and numbers are expected to go up. Today there are an estimated 3,200 slot parlours bingos and casinos in the country, with 83,558 slots nationwide run by 384 licensed operators. According to figures released by the gaming board (Coljuegos), the sector reported growth of around ten per cent in 2014.
Sun International runs a number of world class five star hotels, and some of the most modern casinos in the world, as well as some of the world’s premier resorts. The company already runs a number of casinos in the region and entered the Latin America market in 2008 when it opened the Monticello in Chile. It also operates the Ocean Sun Casino in Panama City.
Earlier this year Chilean casino operator Dreams and Sun International announced that they had entered into a memorandum of understanding to merge their Latin American operations as part of Sun’s International plans to expand into the Latin American gaming market. The merger would create Latin America’s largest gaming group.