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SkyCity still holds winning hand

SkyCity still holds winning hand despite having to pay more for Convention Centre

The Problem Gambling Foundation says it is not surprising SkyCity was prepared to put more money into the Convention Centre considering the Casino has been granted a raft of concessions and been able to bypass requirements under the Gambling Act.

Graeme Ramsey, Chief Executive at the Problem Gambling Foundation, says this is a good indication of the real value of this deal to SkyCity.

“Not only has SkyCity been granted an additional 230 pokie machines and a range of other concessions but it has completely bypassed the Gambling Act requirements regarding the extension of a casino licence,” he says.

The Gambling Act (2003) states that for a casino to renew its license, an independent casino impact report must be prepared on the expected social and economic effects on the local and regional areas affected by the operation of the casino, and on New Zealand generally, and invite submissions from the public.

Graeme Ramsey says this whole process has been bypassed by SkyCity despite its casino licence being extended to 30 June 2048.

“The Gambling Act requires a specific process to be followed for a casino to be granted an extension of its licence,” he says.

“This includes an independent examination of what the casino is doing to this city.”

“In my view a truly independent examination would show that the casino is a net drain on the Auckland economy and operates at a social cost we all wind up paying.”

Graeme Ramsey says the Act requires the opportunity for people of Auckland to have their say.

“Given that over 10,000 people spoke out against more pokies when Auckland Council reviewed its gambling policy in 2013, SkyCity could have expected a lot of opposition to any extension of its licence from people impacted by gambling harm, community leaders, and those agencies which clean up the mess problem gambling creates,” he says.

“Instead of a real examination of whether a casino is wanted, or the impact it has, SkyCity have been guaranteed a winning hand right through until 2048. That is clearly worth the extra money they have agreed to pay now.”

ENDS

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