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Skycity Staff Problem Gambling Support Training

10 September 2003

Media release for immediate release

Problem Gambling Support Training For All Skycity Staff

A responsible attitude to problem gambling is fundamental to the long-term sustainability of the gaming and hospitality sector, according to SKYCITY Entertainment Group Limited.

Presenting at the Third International Conference on Gambling in New Zealand, SKYCITY Host Responsibility Manager Carolyn Hobson said that taking host responsibility seriously made good business sense for SKYCITY.

“As a leading gaming and entertainment company throughout both New Zealand and Australia, we believe in going the extra mile for our customers and our people with regards to host responsibility,” she said.

“With the long-term future of our business in mind, we see both a social and a business rationale for taking an active role in problem gambling support, including early intervention with problem gamblers.”

Ms Hobson was invited to give a presentation on SKYCITY’s responsible gaming staff training programme which has recently been redeveloped.

All of SKYCITY’s 3,500 staff – from senior management to dealers, cleaners, secretaries and electricians – are trained in the responsible provision of gaming and alcohol. All employees complete a two-hour training course, with supervisors, managers and shift managers undergoing 8 to 16 hours of further training, including intervention techniques, according to their level of responsibility.

“In our view, everyone who works for SKYCITY should understand and be able to communicate the company’s approach to host responsibility,” Ms Hobson said.

“Many SKYCITY employees get asked questions about problem gambling outside of work hours. It’s also the case that any person who works for us might be approached by a customer – not just gaming staff.”

Graham Payne, Operations Manager of the NZ Gambling Problem Helpline said SKYCITY’s programme was unique and industry leading.

“I have worked with Problem Gamblers for the last 11 years. During this time I have witnessed a lot of changes in the host responsibility area in regard to problem gambling. As an addictions counsellor and the current Operations Manager for the Gambling Problem Helpline, SKYCITY has in my mind the best host responsibility programme that I’m aware of anywhere in the world.

“Because their training programme is ongoing, covers all staff and draws on the knowledge of independent experts, it is extremely comprehensive.

“With new requirements likely to come into force under the Responsible Gambling Bill, I encourage other casino and gaming machine operators to take a close look at SKYCITY’s programme. They may be able to adapt it to fit their needs,” said Mr Payne.

Ms Hobson said SKYCITY is broadly supportive of the Gambling Bill, which is likely to be passed in the near future.

“For example, the ability to proactively exclude customers showing signs of problem gambling is something we’ve wanted for a long time.”

“The passage of the legislation will provide the industry with much-needed certainty.”

Ms Hobson said that because of the comprehensiveness of SKYCITY’s existing problem gambling support programme, it is well placed to implement the new legislation.

Ms Hobson’s presentation during the Gambling – Through A Public Health Lens: health promotion, harm minimisation and treatment conference is on Thursday 11 September 2003 1:30pm – 1:55pm, Stamford Plaza Hotel.

NB: Additional information over page:
Additional information:
All of SKYCITY’s sites currently operate full host responsibility programmes that include:
- Staff Training
All staff, irrespective of their area of operation, receive training in host responsibility, ranging from an introductory level of training for back-of-house staff to comprehensive training for frontline staff and management.

- Self-bar
A self-bar option is offered to customers who believe they may have a gambling problem. Under this option, customers volunteer to be barred from entering SKYCITY gaming venues – in New Zealand for a minimum period of two years; in South Australia indefinitely. Self-barred customers attempting to re-enter the New Zealand premises during that time may face prosecution.

- Treatment provider liaison
- SKYCITY Auckland and SKYCITY Hamilton have established problem gambling treatment provider liaison groups and SKYCITY Adelaide is formalising relationships. SKYCITY Queenstown Casino liaises monthly with its local provider.

- Referrals to treatment providers
Customers who elect the self-bar option or contact SKYCITY about gambling problems are actively encouraged to contact appropriate treatment providers for help and support and/or to permit SKYCITY to contact the provider on their behalf.

- Problem gambling information on gaming machines, table games and ATMs
Electronic gaming machines and ATMs at SKYCITY properties display problem gambling helpline telephone numbers. A progressive introduction of gaming tabletop felts, which feature embedded helpline telephone details, is underway across all New Zealand sites.

- Problem gambling information
Posters, brochures and wallet cards in various languages are displayed at key points at all SKYCITY gaming venues. The materials are also distributed to health providers, doctors’ surgeries, and community organisations.

- Education modules
SKYCITY has developed community education modules, in consultation with treatment providers, to assist health and community professionals to identify and treat problem gamblers.

- Clocks in gaming areas
Clocks are on display at all SKYCITY gaming venues.

- Funding for the provision of treatment services
SKYCITY’s New Zealand properties contribute annually to the Problem Gambling Committee. In South Australia, SKYCITY will contribute to the Gambling Rehabilitation Fund, beginning this financial year.

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