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Licence Issues Raised By Casino Report

Licence And Certificate Issues Raised By Casino Report


A report into allegations of dishonesty at SkyCity Casino has identified a number of issues which require further follow-up, the Minister of Internal Affairs Mark Burton said today.

"It is important to note that none of the allegations related to the gaming operations of the Casino. The allegations related to staff access to food, drink and phone calls.

"I also note that former SkyCity employee Eddie Hauraki elected to assist the inquiry. Mr Hauraki, who identified himself as the source for the allegations made in Parliament by Winston Peters, offered his full cooperation and handed over the files in his possession.

"With regard to the comments made in the House by Mr Peters, the inquiry is satisfied that his allegations, while containing some inaccuracies, did in fact relate to the staff cafeteria investigation of May 1999.

"The report covers the cafeteria issue and highlights five other incidents where SkyCity staff were involved in acts of dishonesty. This included some staff being given discounted meals, and in some cases meals for free. Sky City dealt with all of the alleged offences. A number of staff were dismissed, others had warnings placed on their personal files.

"Sky City met all of its legislative requirements in the way that it handled the allegations. However, the Casino Inspectorate has expressed concern that in several instances it was not made fully aware of the involvement of Certificate of Approval holders in the alleged cases of dishonesty.

"Such notification is not specifically required under the conditions of SkyCity's licence, but the Inspectorate believes that there is a "recognised expectation" that such information be provided.

"The Inspectorate is concerned that a binding requirement was removed from SkyCity's licence conditions in June 1998. I have considerable sympathy with the Inspectorate's view on this matter.

"There are a number of actions resulting from this report," Mark Burton said.

 The Casino Inspectorate is reviewing the situation of 17 casino staff members to establish their suitability to hold Certificates of Approval.

 I have asked the Casino Control Authority to examine existing procedures at SkyCity that involve the logging of all unusual occurrences; and whether the Casino Inspectors are reviewing the log on a daily basis.

 I have sought advice on the appropriateness of the change in licence condition that had originally required the casino to report all incidents concerning COA holders, with a view to reinstating it if possible.

"There are some important lessons to be learnt from this inquiry," Mark Burton said.

"There have been no breaches of the law or breaches of its casino licence by SkyCity. None of the staff indiscretions involved the gaming operations and the level of the offending, in ordinary circumstances, would be considered "petty".

"However, I believe there are procedural improvements that can and should be made to ensure a fuller disclosure of information. I intend to ensure that appropriate measures are taken," Mark Burton said.

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