Original Research

Transformational change in the SA gambling and lotteries sector

D. Van Lill
Acta Commercii | Vol 7, No 1 | a12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v7i1.12 | © 2007 D. Van Lill | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 December 2007 | Published: 05 December 2007

About the author(s)

D. Van Lill, Faculty of Management Sciences, Central University of Technology, South Africa

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Purpose: This paper examines the transformation of the South African gaming and casino sub-sector after South Africa's democratic dispensation in 1994 and the National Gambling Act (33 of 1996). These developments introduced an adapt-or-die scenario to the gambling and lotteries sector leading to a total overhaul of strategy, structure, systems, processes, technology, work, culture, behaviour and mindset. More specifically, Sun International's gaming and casino division's response to transformational change was examined by tapping into, and reflecting on, the experiences of managers involved in day-to-day casino operations.

Design: The conceptual framework of the research is based on transformation as a form of change where business principles and people management are highly integrated. Subsequently, a user-friendly tool called the "See-Saw model" was developed to measure transformational progress. The model was applied in six change management workshops for casino managers and, from this framework, transformational progress was interpreted.

Findings: The results highlighted the magnitude of change in the gambling and lotteries sector. It appeared that this sector has evolved in 10 year cycles up to 2000, whereas the current level of competitiveness fuels the demand for innovation and change in less than two year cycles. The second significant finding revolved around employees' perception that Sun International's gaming and casinos division has performed well in terms of value innovation variables.

Implications: The study confirmed that, in successful transformation, business innovation needs to be balanced by fairness principles. Moreover, that the threat-rigidity in leader and employee mindset has become a most challenging people management puzzle to position in securing sustainable competitive advantage.

Originality: The value of the research lies in the development of a user-friendly, non-threatening strategic tool called the "see-saw model" which can be used across industries to evaluate transformational progress from the employees' point of view.


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