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Illegal Casino Ad Aimed at the Poor

February 4, 2008

Illegal Casino Ad Aimed at the Poor

The new Skycity Casino CEO needs to learn about New Zealand law says the Problem Gambling Foundation.

PGF staff member Melissa Gregan has lodged a complaint with the Department of Internal Affairs over Skycity advertisements in community papers.

The advertisement promotes a pokie machine competition and states "SKYCITY is giving away an extra $2 million in cash prizes on selected gaming machines over the next 8 weeks. So look out for the 'HOT SEATS' and make 2008 your lucky year!

Mrs Gregan says that the promotion promises the occupant of the hot seat $100 dollar when a particular jackpot is hit. Surrounding players are given $20.

"Of course these players will usually put the money straight back in the machine," she says.

"The casino knows that giving this money to gamblers will result in them spending longer on the machines.

"They also know that if a person spends long enough on a machine they will end up in a trance-like state and spend more than they intend. They are also likely to end up with a gambling problem.

"This is good business for the casino."

PGF Northern Regional Manager, Graham Aitken, says that the pokies are the most profitable form of gambling and the international trend among casinos is to put resources into attracting customers to them rather than the less profitable table games.

"The new Sky City CEO is obviously an experienced operator who understands this trend and is working hard to increase the pool of customers with pokie related gambling problems," he says.

"He's looking amongst the readership of suburban newspapers - known for their lower socioeconomic readership profile.

"It's a form of grooming.

"Unfortunately it's quite legal to prey on the vulnerable, but the form of advertising he is doing is not.

"It is illegal to promote gambling machines and illegal to conduct promotions outside the gambling area."

Mr Aitken says that by placing the advertisements in community newspapers the casino had also totally exposed the myth that it provided a service for tourists.

"This promotion won't attract international tourists and does not create jobs - two main reasons for allowing the Casino to exist".

"The sad truth is that Skycity is like many other casinos around the world. Its customers are local people and tend to come from the poorest areas.

"It peddles a dream of quick riches and delivers misery, poverty and crime."


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