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Armed Robbery Epidemic Hits South African Casino Sites

There has recently been a spate of robbery attacks on South African casino sites. On Sunday, fifteen heavily armed men robbed the Monte Visto Casino in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal. The robbery was successful, and the men got away with an undisclosed sum.

Superintendent Buhle Ngidi described the events as follows: “They jumped over the cash desk and demanded cash. An undisclosed sum of money was taken. They used three vehicles when leaving the scene and one of the getaway cars was abandoned along Dannhauser road, a few kilometres from Newcastle.”

No arrests have been made, and all parties were uninjured.

This incident was one of several robberies of casino sites in the past few months. On December 20th, a 20- man gang entered one of the Meropa casino sites with a volley of gunfire. The gang, in addition to stealing money from the casino, robbed patrons and workers of their wallets and cell phones.

Earlier that month, a man toting an assault rifle and a pistol robbed a casino in Nelspruit.

This epidemic of robberies at South African casino sites has prompted a flurry of media attention, with many pointing the finger at foreign nationals and armed gangs. South African commentators note that the robberies took place despite an extremely heavy security industry standard at casino sites.

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Tighter Regulation of Indian Casino Sites

Senator John McCain, who chairs the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, recently called for the Department of the Interior to clarify its regulation policies regarding laws pertaining to Indian casino sites.

Senator McCain said the 17 year- old Indian Gaming Regulatory Act allows too many exceptions, and contains too many loopholes, to be effectively used as a regulatory tool for Indian casino sites.

“It really is unacceptable 17 years later not to have regulations to implement a law that now applies to a 19-to-20 billion-dollar-a-year business,” said Senator McCain.

The Senator said that he will send a letter to Interior Secretary Gale Norton asking for regulations which would render the process surrounding the building and operation of the Indian casino sites much more transparent. He also objects to the very nature of the Indian casinos, saying that Congress never intended that the casinos reach Las Vegas proportions. Indian casino sites currently bring in around $20 billion each year.

“I don’t see how we can effectively regulate Indian gaming and certainly exercise congressional oversight unless there are regulations to implement the laws we pass,” McCain told Interior department official George Skibine.

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