Thousands more face gambling harm

3 News 9 July 2013
Thousands more people could experience gambling harm as a  result of concessions for SkyCity in exchange for a new convention centre,  documents show.

The Government today released papers discussing the  potential harm of the deal after unveiling the final details of the agreement  with SkyCity on Saturday.

The casino operator will build a $402 million international  convention centre in Auckland, in exchange for an extension of its Auckland  casino licence out to 2048, 230 more pokie machines, 40 more gaming tables and  new cashless gaming technology.

Currently in New Zealand, there are 2800 gaming machines and  200 gaming tables, with more than 1600 machines and more than 100 tables at  SkyCity Auckland.

The concessions will increase nationwide pokie machine  numbers by 8.2 percent, while table numbers will increase by 20 percent.

Discussing the potential harm of increased machine and table  numbers in early 2011, the Department of Internal Affairs noted 2006/07 figures  showing 87,000 adults experienced problems over the previous 12 months due to  someone’s gambling.

Of those people, 33 percent said gaming machines were  involved, while 8.1 percent said table games were involved.

DIA said it was reasonable to assume a similar number of  children were affected – taking the total number affected to about 174,000 –  57,500 because of machines and 14,000 because of tables.

Based on DIA’s figures, the new concessions could see an  additional 4714 people affected by gaming machines and an extra 2800 affected by  casino tables – a total of 7514 people.